In May 2012 Marcel Herrera and a few of his teammates from University started searching for a sponsor to help campaign for the 2013 Sailing Arabia – The Tour. Arabia’s answer to the Tour De France a la Voiles is a grueling 3-week race across the Arabian Gulf and into the Indian Ocean, and it’s already immensely prestigious and completely unique. From the go, the boys have had an uphill struggle to find sponsors and investors looking to be associated with the young team. Skipper Marcel, explained that they chose the Tour because it is a great way to show people that youth teams can mix it up with top pros and give them a run for their money. Here’s more from the young Brit, who we met sailing the Moth Worlds in Dubai before his adult teeth had even come in:
We all love yacht racing and we want to take a step up and get our names out into the professional yacht racing industry, and we have three attributes that make our team and campaign completely unique: First, we are the first youth team to enter Sailing Arabia The Tour. Second, we are the first British entry in the event. Finally, we are all amateur – another unique point about Plymouth Sailing Team.
We started with the very ambitious goal of finding a single exclusive sponsor, and after endless hours of emailing contacts, meeting with business executives and negotiating terms. We found an exhibition company in the region, Messe Frankfurt, who was willing to help out not only with funding, but with advice and consultation all along the way. Who best to take it from than an exhibition company who deal with these things on their day-to-day basis?
This meant a big change in what needed to be done, the boat branding contracts got under way, the flights were booked, the entry fee was paid, the boat was chartered, and so on. From there on, the potential of making a name for the Plymouth Sailing Team and being able to put some results on the board during the race became ever so close to reality. Jack Kilburn, a fellow member of the race team, said, “we have a lot of talent on the team, the numbers are made up of Olympic Development Squad team members, British Keelboat Academy selectees, Youth and National Yacht Champions, just to name a few.” For my own part, I can guarantee that we’re not here to make the entry list bigger; we know what to do to make it to the top of our sport, and have a 6 month slot where we can put in the hours of training, time on the water and dedication to prepare ourselves as well as we can.
Plymouth University in the Southwest UK has been extremely supportive of our ambitions. Some of our team are involved in various Marine Studies courses, including my ‘Navigation and Maritime Sciences’ program. The university has been great in preparing its students for navigational tasks, safety procedures, and everything else that we might need for the race and our careers.
Please have a look at our website for more info, and ‘like’ our Facebook page for more frequent updates. And thanks to Sailing Anarchy for supporting youth sailing programs like the Plymouth Sailing Team!