“They didn’t know it was impossible so they did it.” The famous quote from Mark Twain suits Conrad Colman perfectly. The young sailor is determined and when he has a project on his mind, it’s hard to get him to think about anything else. This is a valuable character trait, when you are about to tackle an event like the Vendée Globe… Originally from New Zealand, Conrad grew up in a family of keen sailors. Setting out from Bali (Indonesia), he spent the first year of his life on a boat. At the age of 15, he moved to the States, where he studied economics, before setting up his own firm making titanium bikes. During those years in America, Conrad pushed back his limits cycling and running and took part at the highest level. The sea however was far removed from his daily life. But that was only to last a while. Fed up with remaining ashore, he went back to sailing.
He had no hesitation in letting everything go and turned up in England with just a bag of clothes and with one idea on his mind. He wanted to take part in the legendary Vendée Globe. He offered his services free of charge to the British sailor Steve White, who took part in the 2008-2009 edition of the non-stop solo round the world race. In late 2008, he moved to Lorient, where he still lives today. Like many other sailors, he discovered solo ocean racing through the Mini Transat. In spite of not having much time to prepare, he managed to complete his first transatlantic race. In the following year, he tackled the Route du Rhum in Class40 once again moving in at the last moment. But once again, he managed to complete his race.
Ambitious and confident in his ability to achieve great things, Conrad Colman then moved to Class40 with the Global Ocean Race, the double-handed race around the world with stopovers. He won four out of the five legs and was the overall winner. After this success, he set about looking for sponsors for his own IMOCA project. At the same time, he prepared Bertrand de Broc’s boat (Votre Nom Autour du Monde) for the 2013 Transat Jacques Vabre and the 2014 Route du Rhum. Then, he met the Hungarian sailor, Nandor Fa who invited him to become his crewman in the Barcelona World Race, the IMOCA double-handed race around the world. During this trip, they suffered a lot of technical problems, but they hung on and finished after 110 days.
If Conrad Colman loves ocean racing, it’s because the sport brings together everything he needs to be happy in life: entrepreneurship, top class racing and adventure. His dream is to complete the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe in adventure mode before returning four years later with a project that should allow him to be up with the frontrunners. It’s not impossible and he may well succeed…
In order to join the list of those lining up at the start, Conrad obtained his qualification at sea during the New York – Vendée transatlantic race. He now only needs to obtain the certificates for his boat to show that the monohull conforms to IMOCA class rules.