American solo ocean racer Brad Van Liew has made it two wins from two ocean sprints in the VELUX 5 OCEANS solo round the world yacht race.
Van Liew sailed into Wellington, New Zealand at 07:49 local time on 15 January 2010 to claim his second sprint victory in the solo round the world yacht race.
During the leg, the second of five that make up the VVELUX 5 OCEANS, Van Liew sailed 7,682 nautical miles in 30 days, nine hours and 49 minutes at an average speed of 10.53 knots on his Eco 60 yacht Le Pingouin. And for the 42-year-old from Charleston, South Carolina, it brought an end to a gruelling month-long slog through the Southern Ocean from Cape Town, South Africa.
The American crossed the finish line on Le Pingouin at 07:49 as the sun rose over the city and docked alongside Queens Wharf in the heart of the city at around 10:00. "It hasn't really sunk in yet," Van Liew said as he stepped off Le Pingouin onto dry land for the first time in a month. "It's really good to be here. I've now done five southern ocean legs and this one was by far the hardest.
"The weather we experienced was different to any other I have ever seen down there. The leg started with a delay and then took a lot longer than anyone expected - it's been an unbelievable challenge"
Polish sailor Zbigniew Gutkowski crossed the finish line in second on 16 January 2010 at 06:27 local time, less than 24 hours behind leg winner Van Liew.
Despite having major problems with his autopilot, the electronic system used to steer the boat, Gutkowski was able to overcome huge waves and strong winds which saw him travel 7,753 nautical miles at an average speed of 10.3 knots on his 60ft Eco 60 yacht Operon Racing.
Gutkowski said, "I'm really happy to be on dry land, alive and in one piece. The boat is also in one piece too which is great considering I have spent more than three weeks with major problems with my autopilot.
"There is a big difference between the Southern Ocean and the Atlantic. There are monstrous waves and huge gusts - 50 knots is normal. If you make one mistake you could lose your mast or even your life. For the first time in my life I was scared, and I took a real battering in this leg."
Ocean sprint two has seen some of the closest racing in the VELUX 5 OCEANS so far with positions changing frequently as the fleet battled through the huge winds and mountainous seas that characterize the bleak Southern Ocean leg.
Derek Hatfield is due to finish around 10:00 local time Tuesday and ocean sprint three from Wellington to Punta del Este, Uruguay is due to start on 6 February 2011.
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