My name is Adrian. The world is my home, and water is my element. I am a sailor, a boatbuilder, and an outdoorsman.
In 2024 I will be competing in the Vendée Globe. It is the most challenging sailing race in the world. I don’t just want to set sail. I want to set an example for our planet and our environment – through the Happy Ocean Project.
Everyone has dreams, big or small. They often grow when you grow. Striving to accomplish these dreams is incredibly important – but not always easy. I had to realize this more than once on the path of becoming a professional sailor. It led to renunciation and conflicts.
I’m from the area of Lake Ammer in Bavaria, Germany. Growing up amidst mountains, woods, and the lake in my childhood, I have always felt an inexpressible connection to nature. It’s that bond that still shapes me today.
Especially my affinity to water has always given me an incredible feeling of freedom and consciousness of pure life. The passion for sailing arose when I was sailing by myself for the first time at nine years old – and it hasn’t left since.
I spent every free minute on the water in my youth and traveled from one regatta to the next. As my goals grew larger, so did my boats. In order to approach my passion and vision more professionally, I took my master craftsman’s diploma in carpeting and gilding and started to dedicate myself to high-tech boatbuilding. I wanted to turn sailing into my profession.
However, my family had other plans. They intended that I would take over my father’s craft business. My path in life was marked out for me. This caused a heavy conflict within myself and ultimately turned into a massive discord between my father and me. My father’s support was essential to me. We had countless conversations, and finally, I convinced him that sailing is not only my passion but rather my vocation. I wanted to make a difference in modern boatbuilding, be successful in sports, and do good for the environment. Ever since I learned about the Vendée Globe, I have been fascinated by all its participants who sailed around the world solo! I am determined to join these elite sailors at the next Vendée Globe in 2024.
The love for sailing caught me at an early age. I spent a lot of time on Lake Ammer and restored my first boat at 14. It was a small dinghy that my father and I had found and bought. It was no longer sailable, and there was a lot of hard work ahead of me to get MY boat back on the water.
The Pirate – back then, a classical juvenile boat – was in a miserable condition. All wooden parts had to be renewed. The dinghy needed new technology, new sails, and a fresh coat of paint. I worked on it for half a year, right after school and on weekends. During this period, I also discovered my enthusiasm for the complexity and diversity of boatbuilding. When I finally finished repairing my boat, I named it “glei hob i di, dann friss i di” (Bavarian for “I’ll catch you in a minute, then I’ll eat you”) and painted a shark’s jaws on the bow. I was incredibly proud. Since then, I have repaired and tuned all my boats myself.
After the classic sailing training on dinghies, my boats turned bigger and bigger and faster and faster. Thus Lake Ammer was no longer satisfactory. First, I switched to Lake Constance then to the open seas. The world championship in 8mR and successes at Match Racing followed. After that, I was finally able to make sailing my profession. I gained lots of experience by sailing high-class boats like TP52 and engaging in offshore projects with Volvo Ocean Race Yachts. Furthermore, in an offshore project with an IMOCA60, I was involved as a boatbuilder and sailor. As boat captain and sailor, and in cooperation with my teammates, I achieved significant victories such as winning first place at the German Championship and second place at the European Championship in offshore sailing.
I have always benefited from the intertwined combination of sailing experience, technical knowledge, and in-depth knowledge of the boatbuilding process. It’s the ideal mixture for solo sailing because this is where comprehensive knowledge is needed.
Imagine climbing Mount Everest without any supplementary oxygen. Then you have a rough notion of what the Vendée Globe means to sailors. You’re by yourself, on a boat for months, with no solid ground underneath your feet. No stopover. No support. You are exposed to natural forces and have to be awake nearly all the time. Sleeping for more than 20 minutes is not an option when racing the Vendée Globe.
The legendary single-handed regatta Vendée Globe is incredibly challenging. The race starts in Les Sables-d’Olonne in France, leads across the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa), through the Antarctic, past Cape Leeuwin (Australia) and Cape Horn (Chile), and finds its end back in Les Sables-d’Olonne, France. The Vendée Globe is considered THE top event in offshore sailing and one of the world’s toughest sporting challenges. The 40.075 km long, solo, and non-stop race around the globe takes place every four years and has been completed by less than 100 sailors thus far with a current record of 74 days, 3 hours, 35 minutes, and 46 seconds. The rate of failures at each of these races has been 50% or more.
Participating in the Vendée Globe is a milestone and a life goal of mine. I am aware of the mental and physical strength I need to put in to achieve this goal. That’s why I train very disciplined for it. As an experienced, professional sailor, I know it will be anything but easy. That’s why numerous preparing regattas are on my schedule for the next four years.
Am I crazy? A little bit. Am I determined? Absolutely.
Boatbuilding, past and present, is not necessarily an eco-friendly business. However, awareness for nature and the environment is on the rise. More and more frequently, ecological materials and environmentally friendly equipment are being used. Yet, for me, this does not go far enough. Therefore I would like to go one step further.
Every part of my Vendée Globe journey, from pre-start to post-finish, is planned to be sustainable and environmentally friendly. It begins with the fact that I will build my boat using recyclable and resource-friendly materials, such as flax.
Natural flax fibers, which are mainly grown in Belgium and France, replace the standard carbon fiber. Compared to other natural fibers, which are available on the market at present, flax fibers are not only by far the most tear-resistant, they are indeed comparable to conventional carbon in terms of compression, tension, and buckling. They also provide valuable linseed oil, which can replace a significant amount of petroleum in epoxy resin. Being biodegradable and carbon neutral at the end of its life cycle, flax is one of the world’s most sustainable natural fibers. Its production has a 75% lower carbon footprint than carbon fiber parts for the same weight and performance. Production consumables are reduced, saving both cost and waste. At the end of their life cycle, components can be thermally recycled by the common waste management system with no residual waste instead of ending up on landfill sites.
The boat will run without fossil fuels, and all energy will be generated from renewable resources such as sunlight and water. Moreover, I’ll make every effort to avoid using plastic or other artificial materials in all of my equipment and provisions. There is already enough plastic polluting our oceans. I am convinced that a state-of-the-art racing team can be designed to leave the smallest ecological footprint possible and support nature’s regeneration with its contribution.
Our vision is that one-day products are made of 100% renewable and/or recycled materials WITHOUT sacrificing performance or durability. With our project, we want to contribute to the development of new materials and processes actively. Therefore, together with our project and boot partners, we offer a platform to advance sustainable technologies. We are open to new cooperations and are looking forward to your request.
When our oceans suffer, it not only affects the aquatic environment or marine life – it affects the whole planet as well as its resources.
Planet Earth is a beautiful place that needs protection. I want to contribute to this because the sea is my second home. That is why the Happy Ocean Project was initiated – with a great purpose behind it.
My determination to help the environment will not just date during the time of the Vendée Globe. I’m already trying to draw attention to our oceans’ poor state.
Climate change and its effects and the incredible pollution of our oceans concern me a lot. A vast pile of rubbish in the Pacific Ocean is growing quicker than expected and is now five times the size of Germany.
According to current estimates, approximately 150 million tons of plastic waste are floating in the world’s oceans. Every year 12.7 million tons of plastic waste is added to this. That resembles about one truckload – per minute!
My team and I have developed detailed concepts and ideas to create more awareness of this issue. I have also set a personal goal of providing the best assistance possible for research studies at my regattas. For this purpose, I collect water samples around the globe and provide the gathered data. This includes, for example, the CO2 content in the water, temperature, and number of microplastics. During the Vendée Globe, I will take samples from the Antarctic Ocean and deploy a research buoy that continuously sends data and information to scientific institutes. These specimens are precious because the waters I can reach are not accessible to a standard research vessel.
It the responsibility of each one of us to protect our planet. The Happy Ocean Project is my answer to what I can do for our planet as a sailor. I would be pleased if you would support my project.
Advances in technology make the Vendée Globe more exciting than ever before, with the ability to live-stream from the boat and connect virtually with the sailors. Because of the numerous superlatives, the race receives huge media attention:
Would you like to act as a sponsor for Adrian Bleninger Racing? Then you are welcome to write to us via the contact form.
When our oceans suffer, this not only affects the creatures that live in the water, but also our entire planet. Our earth is a wonderful place that needs to be protected. I want to do my part, because the ocean is my second home. That’s why the Happy Ocean Project exists – with a great mission behind it.
You want to sea more? Immerse yourself into the world of sailing and follow my mission and my tours on Instagram to experience my adventures on the water first hand.