Steve loves sailing. It all began quite by accident back in 1996 in Weymouth, when he went sailing on
a 17’ Lysander with a friend who didn't have a car with a towbar on his car...........but Steve did, and
he was instantly hooked!
After a second sailing trip across Portland Harbour a week after the first, he bought the first boat that
he saw for sale. Then shortly afterwards in February 1998 he went on a trip around the infamous Fastnet Rock
on an ex BT Global Challenge 67'. He was so inspired by that trip which was his first venture offshore, first
time on a big boat, first experience of bad weather, and his first encounter with professional sailors, he knew
instantly that he had found his calling and vowed there and then to sail professionally and to compete in the Vendée Globe.
It was a truly life changing experience. He handed in his notice with his job restoring classic cars and went to work in a local
boatyard, and set immediately set about getting as much practical experience as possible and all of his RYA qualifications.
Because he only started sailing in 1996, it has been a steep learning curve. He initially ran the rigging and repairs side of a
small boatyard before working for legendary sailor Pete Goss on the Team Philips project. In 2001 he went to work for Chay Blyth's
Challenge Business, where he was charged with training skippers and crews planning on competing in the Global Challenge. During his
time with Challenge Steve sailed over 100,000 miles including 25 roundings of the Fastnet Rock.
During his time with Pete and Chay Steve learnt more than just seamanship. He learnt what it takes to run a successful campaign from the best in the business.
Finally, in 2005, Steve took the plunge and made the final step towards fulfilling his Vendée Globe dream. After a sleepless night on
the 27th of February where he and Kim discussed the future and decided to go it alone. They drove down to Plymouth and Steve handed in his notice, then they drove
to Lymington to do the deal to charter an old Open 50 called Olympian Challenger, and do the 2005 OSTAR single handed trans-Atlantic race.
Steve won the 2005 OSTAR in an old tired boat against the odds, when many newer better boats failed due to unusually bad weather and difficult conditions. All
that technical knowledge paid off as he kept the boat in one piece all the way from Plymouth to Boston. This was his first solo race of any kind, and he was ranked
7th in the world by FICO.
On the back of the OSTAR victory, Steve and Kim secured funding to buy the ex “Gartmore” IMOCA 60. During a difficult time keeping
the campaign going by doing corporate charters, speaking and ultimately re-mortgaging the house a further three times, it was time to go racing!
His unflappable calm and steady tenacity saw Steve finish 8th in the 2007 Rolex Fastnet Race which saw over two thirds of the 300 strong fleet retire within the first
24 hours due to bad weather. He then gained a credible result in the 2008 Artemis Transat, and won the race media prize. Most importantly, this qualified him for the 2008
Vendée Globe. He had to finish at all costs, even though there was a high risk of loosing the mast in the Atlantic.
In November 2008, thirty skippers representing nine countries set off from the blustery French Atlantic coast to take part in the solo, non-stop around the world Vendée Globe
yacht race. One hundred days later, having watched nineteen of the world’s top sailors retire, Steve White crossed the finish line in 8th place attracting more than 50,000 people
to line the harbour and cheer him in having firmly established his place in sailing folklore.
Despite the funding challenges which threatened to prevent him from even reaching the start line, Steve White has now firmly established himself as one of the world’s elite group
of solo sailors who have sailed non stop around the world, placing him in the company of legends such as Dame Ellen MacArthur and Sir Robin Knox Johnston. His results are no surprise to those who know this quiet man of sailing, but Steve’s story is by no means finished.
All this has been achieved without a major sponsor. Just imagine what could be possible with one.........with the support of his family and friends, Steve and his family will be back in Les Sable d'Olonne for a second Vendée Globe in 2012 with the aim of a podium place.