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banner Thursday, 28 June, 2001, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Gartmore
Josh Hall. Photo courtesy of EDS Atlantic Challenge
Hall: A creditable ninth-place in the Vendée Globe
Like fellow Britons Mike Golding and Ellen MacArthur, Josh Hall is a member of the hard core of the UK's professional skippers.

After decades of Gallic dominance of single-handed ocean racing, these three have made steady inroads into the French domain.

Originally, from Ipswich, Josh Hall was born into a family of sailors and he grew up racing around the shores of England.

  Team Gartmore
Skipper: Josh Hall
Age: 41
Nationality: British
Tactician: Christope Auguin
Weather and tactics: Gilles Chiorri
Crew: Javier Sanso, Ollie Dewar, Paolo Manganelli, Brad Van Liew
With more than 180,000 offshore racing miles under his belt, Hall also possesses a shrewd business acumen.

He has had the same sponsor, Gartmore Investment Management, for nearly eight years.

The financial firm weren't scared off when, in 1995, Hall hit a submerged object during the opening leg of a long-distance race and promptly sunk.

Gartmore immediately commissioned a new Open 60 for Hall.

It was completed in time for the 1998-99 Around Alone, although Hall was again forced to retire when he lost the top of his mast.

Josh Hall's yacht Gartmore
Gartmore: One of the fastest boats of its kind
Gartmore weren't deterred and he rewarded them with a creditable ninth place in the 2000-01 Vendée Globe.

His yacht is one of the lightest of its class, a full one and a half tonnes lighter than Fila for instance, which makes it one of the fastest boats of its kind.

He has surrounded himself with some impressive names.

Christophe Auguin, winner of the 1997 Vendée Globe, is in charge of tactics.

And they are joined by, among others, American entrepreneur turned professional sailor, Brad Van Liew.

Having set up two airline companies by the time he was 30, Van Liew's had a life-changing experience while competing in the 1998/99 Round Alone race.

Tossed around in the storm-ridden Southern Ocean, he spent two weeks in fear for his life.

But he was bitten by the offshore bug and vowed to take up sailing full-time, though he maintains a business career.

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