Winning skipper launches Canadian Ocean Racing campaign with former crew

09 February 2015

Fresh from being crowned 2014 Rolex Sailor of the Year at the Sail Canada Awards over the weekend, Clipper 2013-14 Race winning skipper Eric Holden (34) has revealed plans to launch his own team, Canadian Ocean Racing, with some of his former crew members.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston added his congratulations. He said: “Eric is a worthy recipient of Sail Canada’s Rolex Sailor of the Year following his outstanding performance leading the winning team aboard Henri Lloyd in the 2013-14 edition; his performance was outstanding.

“His decision to form a professional team with former crew demonstrates how the Clipper Race develops crew and skippers alike to take on new competitive sailing challenges.”

The Canadian Ocean Racing team has been founded by Eric and includes former Henri Lloyd crew member Morgen Watson who will work with Wind Athletes Canada and Sail Canada to promote offshore racing and offer opportunities for Canadian sailors.

The team has ambitious plans and intends to take on its first Ocean Masters race challenge with the Transat Jacques Vabre in November 2015. Eric has also announced his aim to enter the 2016 Vendée Globe campaign; he will be only the fourth Canadian in history to enter the world-renowned solo offshore racing competition.

Morgen Watson, 25 from Calgary, was one of Eric’s round the world crew members aboard Henri Lloyd. As the team’s Operations Manager, he will now head to Vancouver with Eric to take responsibility of the 60-foot racing yacht O Canada. Morgen will be responsible for getting the boat and team race-ready and provide Eric with onshore support throughout the races.

Eric says he is very pleased to have Morgen on board: “He is a young, aspiring, offshore racer. He showed great skill, development and leadership when on the Clipper Race and became one of my watch leaders. I’ve decided to mentor him and we will build Canadian Ocean Racing together.”

Speaking about the new venture, Morgen says: “I’m very grateful for Eric's support and the confidence he has in me. I am especially proud to partner with him to build Canadian Ocean Racing and provide the same opportunities and support for other aspiring sailors like myself.”

Another of Eric’s former Henri Lloyd crew members, Meg Reilly, is going to manage the team’s media and partnership relationships. Meg left her PR job in New York after one of her first sports clients, 4POINT4 sponsored her to take part in the Clipper Race as their brand ambassador.

Meg says: “I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity following an amazing year on the Clipper Race. I left my job in PR and Communications to circumnavigate the world and Im so happy to be back in the business but this time on my own terms and involving my passion for sailing.

“I know Eric and Morgen have a great ocean racing careerahead of them and I am very pleased to be part of the team and help build this awesome campaign.”

Sir Robin added: “This is a great partnership between Eric and his Clipper Race crew members Morgen Watson and Meg Reilly. It’s a fantastic venture and I wish them every future success together.”

Click here to find out more about Canadian Ocean Racing. You can also follow the team on Twitter - @OceanRacing.

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