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Young New Zealand-American sailor Conrad Colman is out to be the first sailor to finish the Vendee Globe Race, a grueling non-stop singlehanded circumnavigation, on a boat that produces zero carbon emissions.  Central to his “green” plans are to use a Titanium mainsail with enough Power Sails® solar panels laminated into the sail to produce 2.2 kW per hour. Over the course of the 28,000 mile race, Colman will sail his 60-foot boat without crew, without stops, without assistance, and uniquely, without fuel.

UK Sailmakers is very happy to be working with Conrad and his ground-breaking campaign. 

Along with pursuing a “green campaign” Colman, whose father was American, hopes his Vendee Globe performance will excite Americans about the sport of Ocean Racing as Lance Armstrong excited American’s about bicycle racing. “This is a real sport, a hard man’s sport, said Colman. “I want to create the same interest in solo ocean racing that Lance did for bicycle racing – without the drugs.” 

The Eco side of his campaign comes from his personal quest to live a green life. “I founded a bicycle company when I was a college student and I have been a vegetarian for 17 years so that I can lower my impact on the world,” said Colman. “That is why I sought out Alain (Janet, founder of SolarCloth Systems and owner of UK Sailmakers France) at METS. His Solar Sails are a perfect way to generate the electricity I’ll need to run an IMOCA 60 without burning any fuel.” His boat is also equipped with an electric motor made by OceanVolt in Finland. The boat is set up so that when the propeller is allowed to free-wheel, it will also generate electricity with a minimal effect on boatspeed.

Conrad is busily preparing his 2005 vintage boat for the November start of Les Sables-d’Olonne, France where 2 million people will gather to bid farewell to the fleet. He is still looking for sponsorship, including a top-level sponsor who will get naming rights for the boat.  As a warm up for the round the world, Conrad will deliver the boat from France to Newport in May to prepare for a solo transatlantic race that leaves from New York City at the end of the May — a great opportunity for American companies to invest in his project and get immediate returns on home territory. 

While this is Colman’s first Vendee Globe, it will be this third around the world ocean race. He won the 2011-2012 Global Ocean Race sailed in Class 40s sailing CESSNA CITATION. In that race he won four of the five legs, each time with a different co-skipper. Colman also sailed on the IMOCA 60 SPIRIT OF HUNGRY in the 2014-2015 Barcelona World Race, a non-stop around the world race that starts and finishes in Barcelona. 

It was during the Global Ocean Race that he experienced the worst and best moment of his young career as a sailor: “My best and worst memory are intimately linked. On approaching New Zealand, on the second leg of the Global Ocean Race, my co-skipper, Sam Goodchild, fell overboard without a lifejacket. After 35 minutes of anguish, carrying out a search in a swell, with 35 knots of breeze, fog and virtually zero visibility, I managed to locate him. It was a hellish 35 minutes, thinking of the possibility that I could lose him and that I had his life in my hands. There are no words that can describe that. Even though recovering him was indescribably joyous, I never ever want to go through that again, I never want to feel what it’s like to know someone is in danger again.”

Conrad is a inspiring sailor who the UK Sailmakers group wishes the best of luck with his Vendee Globe campaign. His experiences racing around the world, alone, non-stop and unassisted will be a great test of himself and UK Sailmakers’ Frances’ PowerSails®. For more information go to: or e-mail him at: For information about PowerSails®, go to:

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