Vendee Globe 2024 challenger Pip Hare may have to "throttle-back on performance" and jeopardise a world sailing record bid unless new funding can be found.

Nine months ago, solo round-the-world yachtswoman Pip was celebrating having “a fighting chance” against the 13 new-build boats in the 2024 Vendée Globe race, following a six-month refit of her Imoca 60 Medallia.

Now, with just 30 weeks to go until the race, two of her sponsors are ‘unable to re-sign contracts for the final year of the campaign due to the world economic climate’, so she is appealing for urgent funding support.

It could make all the difference to help Pip to be competitive when she reaches the ‘Everest of sailing‘ starting line on 10 November.

British ocean racer Pip Hare sailing her 60 foot IMOCA racing yacht, Medallia

Pip Hare Ocean Racing is “showcasing British talent and drive in every way on the international stage.” Credit: Jean-Louis Carli/ IMOCA

Pip told PBO: “We’re currently on all planned activity until mid-June.

“I have to finish the final qualification race, the New York Vendée to Les Sables d’Olonne. This will involve delivering the boat across the Atlantic and then racing single-handed back.

“We will make the start line of the Vendée Globe but if we don’t find new sponsors, we can’t fund the pre-Vendée refit.

“We have a massively high-powered boat, which I want to push for three months around the world. I’m hoping for a top 10 finish.

“We need to do this work for the boat to be strong enough and tough enough for me to push it.

“If we can’t do this work, essentially I’d have to throttle back on performance.”

The funds are needed to pay for a refit, take the keel off and replace the keel bearings, Pip said: “It’s a 60ft boat so that’s a big job.”

She added: “We’re also finalising the sail wardrobe. If I can’t get new sails I’ll be using sails that have been around the world already – you can’t push them.

“Also, people don’t always realise it’s a team, we’ve got seven full-timers and seven part-timers. If we can’t keep the team going at the right capacity, then every job we do takes longer, and I need to maximise my time training.

“I’ve done ‘around the world at all costs’. This time I very much want to show what the boat is capable of.”

British ocean racer Pip Hare sailing her 60 foot IMOCA racing yacht, Medallia

Credit: James Tomlinson/ Rolex Fastnet 2023

Legendary credentials

Pip made her mark on the sport in 2021 after starting a sailing team on a £25,000 loan and crowdfunding.

She became the eighth woman to complete the Vendee Globe when she finished the gruelling solo, non-stop round the world race in February 2022, beating professional teams funded to the tune of over £20million.

Then aged 47, she crossed the finishing line in 19th place out of the 33-strong fleet, which saw 25 finishers.

Pip said: “I entered the last Vendée Globe race four years ago after getting started with a £25,000 bank loan and some crowdfunding.
“Now I’m running a team in a different league. I am proud to have established and grown a professional, high performing ocean racing team in the UK.
“We carry out much the same activity as an F1 motorsport team, driving engineering, performance and technology, just on the water rather than the track.
“We are showcasing British talent and drive in every way on the international stage.”

11th hour blow

“Losing this sponsorship at a key stage in our preparations is going to have a huge impact on race potential.” Pip said.

“We have just 30 weeks left to make the boat strong, to refine systems and for me to train.
“If we are not able to bring in more funding all of this activity will have to halt after June and we will just focus on getting to the start line and race – there will be no further development or preparation.”

However, she believes that it provides an exciting time for a sponsor to get on board just as the race looms.

Pip described sponsorship as ‘so much more than just sticking a logo on the boat, it’s a powerful partnership.’

She said: “The financial situation is tough for everyone at the moment, but I know we can add real value and we’re here for the taking.”

“The Vendée Globe is all about grit and determination – and that applies on the water during a race and to my team in the lead up. It’s these kinds of challenge where we thrive – and I have no doubt that we will do so again and am positive that a new sponsor will come forward,” Pip added.

British ocean racer Pip Hare sailing her 60 foot IMOCA racing yacht, Medallia

Pip Hare is hoping for a top 10 finish in the next  Vendée Globe. Credit: Mark LLoyd

Seasoned ocean racer

Building on her success in the 2021 Vendée Globe, Pip went on to establish and develop Britain’s only professional ocean racing team, which is now ranked just outside the top ten international teams.

The team manages, develops, races and maintains a 60ft IMOCA racing yacht, which combines the latest developments in engineering and technology. These include 5.4m-long foils, which help the boat to fly two metres above the surface of the waves.

The team, which operates from Poole in Dorset, has propelled Pip up the ranks, where she is now poised to achieve a top ten position in the 2024 Vendée Globe Race.

If she finishes this edition of the toughest race in the world, Pip could become the first woman in the world to ever finish the race twice.

Pip said: “I’ve got a brilliant team, a great boat and this is the best opportunity of my life to make a mark on this epic race – it would be such a shame that we can’t make the most of that potential because of events beyond our control.”

British ocean racer Pip Hare sailing her 60 foot IMOCA racing yacht, Medallia

Medallia’s new foils are 5.4m long. Credit: Jean-Louis Carli/ IMOCA

How you can help

There are opportunities for big and small sponsors to back the campaign.

In addition to a fundraiser and merchandise available on the website, sailing clubs, companies and individuals can get their name stickers on board, for a suggested donation of £50, so they will be going around the world with Pip.

Pip said: “We’ve already had some incredible responses to our appeal, it’s been really humbling, there’s been a lot of kind support.

“People have also been making introductions for us, advocating for us in their networks – it’s the power of someone going into work and saying ‘This is a great opportunity.’

“And it really is. Sailing as a whole, people sometimes struggle to see the value but when you compare it to a lot of other things, it’s really good value, and interest in the Vendée is at an all-time high.

“We see our sponsors very much as part of the team, so to me it’s not just about traditional promotion. My team and I work directly with our partners to understand what a return on their investment would look like, how we can proactively engage new clients, and tailor our offer to each business.

“This is an amazing opportunity right now, and no one has to do the boring bit.”