I also have a connection. My name is printed on the side of Spirit of Canada and hopefully it will make it around the world. Derek Hatfield has been doing the boat show circuit past couple of years raising donations to fund his race. ( I think that ranks him as an amatuer but I don't know the status of the rest of the skippers) For a donation you had your name printed on the side of the boat and got a few other "goodies" depending on your level of sponsership. I have a Spirit of Canada cap.
I've been watching on the official site. Interesting first day with 8 boats of 30 returning to Port with damage, 2 dismastings, 3 electrical and Hugo Boss with major structural damage a 5 metre crack after he hit something or that is what they think.
Unfortunately Derek got caught with his pants down ( or his sails up) and was knocked down by 50 knot winds. The main sheet wrapped around the wind generator and damaged it, which he requires for power. He also has damage to his mast track and is currently assessing damages and repairs. Luckliy another team has offered to help with the repairs and is back in port trying to get things fixed and back into the race.
I hope the two ladies do well, currently in 12th and 13th place.