Polish ocean racer Zbigniew 'Gutek' Gutkowski has just over 500 nautical miles to sail to the finish of sprint four of the VELUX 5 OCEANS.
The 36-year-old Polish solo skipper was just 514 nautical miles from the finish line in Charleston, USA, at the 18:00 UTC position report and back in good winds after a frustrating few days of slow sailing up the coast of North America.
His good progress has come despite yet more damage to Operon Racing
- this time the Eco 60's bowsprit has parted completely from the bow of the boat. It has not hindered Gutek too much however due to the angle of his course towards Charleston not requiring a spinnaker.
Gutek said, "Yesterday morning I noticed a crack in my bowsprit, but it all looked very stable so I continued my journey. Due to a change of wind direction I had to take down the gennaker and hoist up the Solent. Next I started to hear a weird sound. My first thought was that I had caught some fishing nets on my keel but it turned out to be my bowsprit.
"It is broken now just after the pulpit. It fell down to the water but was held on bobstay so I pulled it in and it is now safely stored. The good thing is that it broke now not in the next leg."
After setting sail with the rest of the VELUX 5 OCEANS fleet from Punta del Este on March 27, Gutek was forced to stop in Fortaleza, Brazil, after a number of breakages onboard Operon Racing
as well as suffering from broken ribs. He was just eight miles across the Equator when he was forced to turn back to Fortaleza. He spent 11 days in port during which he carried out repairs to Operon Racing
and allowed his broken ribs to heal.
Gutek was today making around 11 knots towards Charleston and is expected to join the VELUX 5 OCEANS fleet by Thursday if he continues at his current speed.