Start line of the 1995 Bermuda
1-2 in Newport RI.
Mid-Atlantic during the 1996 Europe One Singlehanded Transatlantic Race
North Atlantic during 1996 Europe One STAR
"Around Alone is the greatest mental and physical challenge in any sport. Only those with the highest proven stamina and mental toughness should enter for what is the ultimate classic ocean race - the ultimate sporting challenge."
It takes tremendous courage, determination and persistence to sail around the world alone. Only 126 brave sailors have ever done it. As perspective, this is fewer than the approximately 400 astronauts who have gone into space or the over 1800 mountaineers who have reached the summit of Mt. Everest. It is a tremendous accomplishment under normal circumstances, but Derek Hatfield's story is truly inspiring.
Starting in September 2002 and ending in May of 2003, Derek completed over 28,700 nautical miles in the "Around Alone" Single-handed Yacht Race. Despite major obstacles along the way, Derek was 1 of 9 international competitors and the only Canadian to finish the grueling event.
To enter the Around Alone Derek built his own boat specifically designed for this race. Unable to find a corporate sponsor, Derek, family and friends worked tirelessly over five years to build and fund the boat from scratch and get him to the start line.
There were tremendous accomplishments throughout the race but the major challenge occurred in the fourth leg of the race off infamous Cape Horn. Here, after fighting 60 foot waves during a day long Southern Ocean gale, a vertical breaking wave pitch-poled Spirit of Canada. The boat stood on its nose, flipped upside down then back up again. Derek was thrown off the deck into the frigid Southern Ocean water and then scooped up again as the boat righted itself. Unfortunately, Spirit of Canada was dismasted in the accident. Devastated, Derek motored Spirit of Canada over 30 hours to Ushuaia; Argentina. Over the next four weeks, Derek and his team of friends and supporters worked diligently to repair the boat and get him back onto the racecourse. With a new mast, new sails and electronics, Spirit of Canada was once again sailing but obviously significantly behind the rest of the boats.
On May 31st 2003, after almost 8 months at sea, Derek arrived in Newport - the finish line - to a hero's welcome, as hundreds of people came out to pay homage to a man who just wouldn't quit. Finishing an amazing 3rd place overall in Class II, Derek was the fastest 40' boat throughout the event.
Derek's other sailing accomplishments include:
Rolex Sailor of the Year 2003;
Gerry Roufs Offshore Sailing Award 2003;
Ontario sailor of the Year 2003;
2nd place 1999 Bermuda One Two;
2nd place 1997 Bermuda One Two;
1st place and Overall Winner of the 1996 Legend Cup Transatlantic Race;
7th place 1996 Europe One Single-handed Transatlantic Race;
1st place 1994 Labatt's Single-handed Race Series.
After a successful career with the R.C.M.P. and a number of years managing compliance activities for brokerage firms in the securities industry, Derek is now a professional sailor and motivational speaker.
Courage, determination, persistence and passion paid off. Derek and the Spirit of Canada Ocean Challenges Team are now building a competitive 60-foot Class I Spirit of Canada and plan to race around the world again in the Five Oceans Race in 2006.
For further information please contact Patianne Verburgh at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at + 416.816.7446