A bit of luck puts solo racer over the top
Dutchman Mark Slats is obviously not someone who who's cowed by a challenge. The solo sailor and rower has done well in every competition he's entered. Even a hard charger like Slats, however, sometimes benefits from a bit of serendipitous good luck.
Slats had never rowed before he decided to enter the 2017 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. He sold his house and many of his possessions to enter the rowing race, which starts in the Canary Islands and ends in Antigua, a cross-Atlantic course spanning 3,000 miles. Not only did Slats compete, he destroyed his solo competition, finishing first, a full 14 days ahead of the second place solo rower.
On his return from the Caribbean Slats entered the 2018 Golden Globe Race, a single handed nonstop around the world sprint due to start in France on July 1. Except Slats didn't have a sponsor. He sold the rest of his possessions and searched for sponsorship, but was unable to secure the needed funds. He was on the verge of withdrawing from the race when fortune smiled. A friend introduced him to Chris Zadeh, the founder and CEO of Ohpen, a core banking provider founded in 2009. Zadeh was immediately impressed by Slats.
“When a mutual contact introduced me to Mark, I immediately saw the spitting image of our core values," Zadeh said. "I have never met a person that embodies 'give it all' as much as he does. The word 'impossible' is not in his dictionary. Based on mental strength, tactics and pure perseverance, he overcomes and takes on new challenges."
As a result of their meeting, Zadeh and Ohpen decided to sponsor Slats. As part of participating in the Golden Globe, Slats will be raising funds for his charity Sailing4Cancer (more info at his website).
Sometimes hard work and enthusiasm can get you most of the way there and the rest comes down to a bit of luck.