Brad Van Liew and his star-spangled, Tommy Hilfiger-sponsored Freedom America dominated the Open 50 division in the 2002-'03 Around Alone, but the sailing world hasn't seen or heard much of him since. After the race, Van Liew settled in bucolic Charleston, S.C., with his wife, Meaghan, raising two children and confining
himself to a desk job at a local maritime non-profit. It was, he says, a necessary grounding, but he knew his retirement was only temporary. Now, six years after walking away from the solo ocean-racing scene that had defined his existence for more than a decade, the 41-year-old is plotting his return with an American entry in the 2010 Velux 5 Oceans.