It takes tremendous courage, determination and persistence to race around the world alone. Derek is the 126th brave sailor to have ever done it. As perspective, this is fewer than the 400 astronauts who have gone into space or the over 15,000 mountaineers who have reached the summit of Mt. Everest. It is a tremendous accomplishment under normal circumstances, but Derek Hatfield’s story is truly inspiring.
Starting in September 2002 and ending in May of 2003, Derek completed over 28,700 nautical miles in the “Around Alone” Single-handed Yacht Race. Derek built the boat with friends and family and despite major obstacles along the way, was 1 of 10 international competitors and the only Canadian to finish the grueling event. On May 31st 2003, after almost 8 months at sea, Derek arrived in Newport – the finish line – to a hero’s welcome. Hundreds of people came out to pay homage to a man who just wouldn’t quit. Finishing an amazing 1st in fleet and 3rd place overall in Class II; Derek was the fastest 40′ boat throughout the event.
After finishing the Around Alone in 2003 Derek realized that with the tremendous support that he had received before and during the Around Alone he could build an IMOCA Open 60 racing boat and represent Canada once again in the Vendee Globe 2008; a non-stop non-assisted solo race around the planet. Derek wasn’t alone on the boat as he had the support of over 6,000 people on the boat with him. Their names were printed on the hull. After almost 4 years of building and fundraising, Derek started the Vendee Globe and became the first Vendee Globe competitor to fly the Canadian flag. It was an amazing achievement for Derek; it was an amazing achievement for Canada.
On 28th December 2008 after 50 days at sea, Derek was forced to retire from the Vendee Globe 2008 after a large breaking wave rolled the Open 60 Algimouss Spirit of Canada breaking two of the mast spreaders. Unable to complete repairs without outside assistance, Derek was forced to retire from the race and headed for Hobart in Tasmania. Only 11 of the original 30 starters were able to complete the grueling race.
The next challenge for Derek and his team was the VELUX 5 Oceans race, formerly the Around Alone. The start line was in France on October 17th, 2010 and took the racers around the world via stopovers in Cape Town, Wellington, Punta del Este, Charleston and then back to La Rochelle in France. Derek and his ACTIVE HOUSE ECO 60 sailed into the record books after finishing the race in 3rd place and becoming the first Canadian to race around the world twice. Derek is now located in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia and is training for his next big challenge which was announced in 2012 training other people to go offshore. Using the Volvo 60 Amer Sports One that was raced around the world in the 2001 Volvo Ocean Race Derek is taking people offshore for the experience of a lifetime.
Derek’s other sailing accomplishments include:
2011 Award of Excellence Ontario Sailing
3rd Place 2010/2011 VELUX 5 Oceans
Rolex Sailor of the Year 2003;
Gerry Roufs Offshore Sailing Award 2003;
Ontario Sailor of the Year 2003;
3rd Place 2002/3 AroundAlone;
2nd place 1999 Bermuda One Two;
2nd place 1997 Bermuda One Two;
1st place and Overall Winner of the 1996 Legend Cup Transatlantic Race;
7th place 1996 Europe One Single-handed Transatlantic Race;
1st place 1994 Labatt’s Single-handed Race Series.
After a successful career with the R.C.M.P. and a number of years managing compliance activities for brokerage firms in the securities industry, Derek is now an entrepreneur, motivational speaker and sailor.
Derek can be reached at: +1.902.531.2532
Support Spirit of Canada – put your name on the hull here
Have Derek as a Keynote speaker at your next corporate function.