Brad Van Liew
Silver-haired Brad Van Liew, the 43-year-old, two-time solo circumnavigator who came out of retirement to compete in the current VELUX 5 Oceans singlehanded round-the-world race, crossed the finish line yesterday off his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, to win the fourth leg of the event from Punta del Este, Uruguay. Van Liew’s time for the 5,900 nautical-mile voyage was 23d, 4h, 58m.
Among the throng of spectators who watched Van Liew’s 60-foot Le Pingouin cross the finish line off Charleston Harbor just before 5 p.m. local time was his wife, Meaghan, and their two children: Tate, 9, and Wyatt, 6. Though it was Van Liew’s fourth consecutive victory in the race, this one was particularly satisfying.
“For me, winning this leg is so special,” he said. “If I could have chosen just one leg to win, it would have been this one. This is my homeport… I was very focused and determined. I feel delirious and exhausted—it was a heck of a leg.”
Though Van Liew now holds a dominating lead in the race, there remains some unfinished business. The fifth and final leg of the event, to La Rochelle, France, begins on May 14th.
“The good news for me now is that mathematically, winning overall is pretty much a done deal,” he said. “The bad news is that I have to make it to La Rochelle to win. That will be my priority now. The reality is I will have to tell myself to focus on getting to La Rochelle in one piece.”