Inspiring offshore sailing in Canada
Published on August 23rd, 2022
Canadian Scott Shawyer has launched Canada Ocean Racing, a new offshore sailing team to compete in the solo, non-stop round the world race, the Vendée Globe. Backed by renowned British sailor Alex Thomson, Shawyer aims to become the first Canadian to complete the pinnacle event in offshore sailing, widely regarded as the toughest sporting challenge on the planet.
Shawyer’s campaign also seeks to lead and inspire the development of offshore sailing in Canada. A core team of Canadian sailors will manage the day to day running of the yacht’s technical performance while the team embarks on a rigorous schedule of offshore training and race preparation.
From youth engagement programs with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Foundation to gender equity and inclusion opportunities with The Magenta Project, the Canada Ocean Racing team will encourage the next generation to choose their own adventure and create a pathway for future athletes, helping them to build the necessary pathways and networks in performance sailing.
“I know that taking on the Vendée Globe will be the biggest challenge of my life,” admits Shawyer. “I’ve joined forces with one of the best in the business, Alex Thomson, and like him, I have always been competitive and driven. We are a proud and adventurous nation and it’s time for Canada to compete on the world stage in singlehanded offshore sailing.”
Thomson announced in October 2021 that he would not be competing as a skipper in the 2024 Vendée Globe, taking a break after competing in the IMOCA 60 circuit for 19 years including five successive Vendée Globe’s with two podium finishes and numerous world records.
“I love the sport but it’s now time for me to spend more time on land, with my young family,” he said at the time.” This doesn’t mean that I am retiring, just changing my role, from spending most of my time at sea, to spending more of it on land.”
In his role with Shawyer, he is eager to continue his goal of taking sailing to a wider international audience. “The Vendée Globe and solo offshore sailing has been such an important part of my life and is so much more than a sport,” said Thomson on the new partnership. “It inspires and engages so many people, and I think to bring the sport to a relatively new market like Canada will help to continue the growth and internationalization of the sport.
“Scott has all the raw ingredients required to sail solo around the world, and together with his business experience, drive, and commitment, we are going to create a long term and meaningful campaign, and hopefully have some fun on the way.”
Shawyer and the Canada Ocean Racing team recently began training as they prepare to compete in the IMOCA Globe Series, a series of offshore races including solo and double handed transatlantic crossings, leading to the pinnacle event, the Vendée Globe in 2028. They acquired the 2011 Owen Clarke Design IMOCA previously used by Offshore Team Germany.
Shawyer was President and CEO of JMP Solutions for the past 25 years, an industrial technology company that provides engineering services and turnkey solutions and is credited for the significant growth of the company with 15 business units located in Canada and the United States.
A lifelong sailor, adventurer, and athlete, he has trekked to the North Pole raising over five hundred thousand dollars for various charities and as an accomplished downhill ski racer is a member of the Canadian Masters Alpine Team.