Thank you Helly Hansen

 Thank you to Helly Hansen, Martha Hall Finlay (ACA Chair) and Geoffrey Belisle & Joannie Schatz (Craigleith members and race parents) for supporting Alpine Ontario athletics!

Helly Hansen joined the AOA team last season and, in addition to outfitting all our athletes in beautiful gear, the company donated to AOA two amazing Atlas Ocean Racing sailing adventures on the Volvo Ocean Racers 60. Martha Hall Finlay and Geoffrey Belisle purchased these adventures last winter at the AOA winter fundraiser.

The VO60s are incredible performance machines, former legends of round-the-world races, and among the strongest and safest yachts in the world. With a length of 60ft, a draft of 14ft, and a mast of 100ft, they need up to 16 crews to perform.  The actual boat that the AOA crews were on was the Esprit de Corps II which raced in the Whitbread Round the World Race 1997-98 under its former name of Swedish Match. In this race it was the Brunel/Sunergy team that raced alongside 9 other Volvo Ocean 60’s and endured significant hardship including losing the top running backstay, an inverted mast, hitting a whale and losing half of its rudder. Despite this the boat finished 8th in the race before it was docked and sat abandoned in Sweden for years.

In 2014 Gilles Barbot and Georges Leblanc purchased the boat and after a challenging crossing of the Atlantic, the boat is finally in Canada and renamed Esprit de Corps III, joining Atlas Ocean Racing’s fleet.

The first AOA group to set sail was Martha’s and incredibly they set out early last Thursday in what the weather network called “the rainiest day in July in half a decade!” Her crew put the Helly Hansen-foul- weather-samples to the test and managed to look happy while doing so!  Geoffrey’s group set sail later that same day under the heat, humidity and sunshine of Toronto but with no wind. ☹

Atlas, as true professional sailors made the best of both situations and hosted everyone to an amazing experience on Lake Ontario. Thank you again to our hosts and guests for supporting AOA Athletics!

Visit AOA on Facebook for more photos.