DALTON suspended sailing at 16:30 UTC on Saturday 27 January as he arrived back on home soil. Arriving in the early hours of the morning in New Zealand, DALTON was tired and concerned about the rocky approach to port, but successfully navigated the boat to land where he will await the delivery of food to replace the ruined stores. DALTON will have to respect the 48 hour time penalty in the race rules for receiving outside assistance, meaning he can re-commence racing at 16:30 UTC on Monday 29 January. DALTON is still ahead of Unai BASURKO (ESP) and Sir Robin KNOX-JOHNSTON (GBR) in third position in the second leg of the round the world race, but the 48 hour pit stop will most likely push the Kiwi skipper to the back of the pack.
Following DALTON's pit stop, the three back markers will be bunched together, although they will trail the leader by over 1,700 miles. The second leg of the VELUX 5 OCEANS is one of the most challenging in solo ocean racing, covering over 14,000 miles from Western Australia to Norfolk, Virginia, USA. The fleet are already battling the freezing expanses of the Southern Ocean before rounding Cape Horn and heading north through the Atlantic.
This weekend has once again seen a huge expansion over the water with race leader STAMM on Cheminees Poujoulat now 880 miles ahead of second placed Kojiro SHIRAISHI (JPN) on Spirit of Yukoh, compared to 560 nm on Friday morning at the same time. This is as much down to STAMM making impressive progress over the weekend as it is to SHIRAISHI being down on speed.
Since Friday STAMM has been trying to cross the ice waygate. He had to cross a line running along 52degS between 160 and 145degW. With the onset of a high pressure system from the north that would have left him wallowing without wind, instead of heading for the westerly end of the line, STAMM dived south, all the way down to 56deg 30S (some 270 miles south of western end of the line) before heading up again. Using this tactic STAMM's Cheminees Poujoulat sailed many more miles, but at a much faster speed than if he had sailed the direct route. He passed the eastern end of the waygate at around 18:30 UTC last night.
This morning STAMM reported, 'After having rounded the westerly mark of the gate one, I'm now heading east, more or less on the great circle. The wind is very shifty in force and in direction. It goes from 12 knots to 30 knots and it can change by 40 degrees. It is not so easy to put the right sail on. But the general direction of the wind is good, I'm doing the right course, then everything is okay.'
According to the last weather picture, STAMM is currently sailing in 20-25 knot southerlies.
The first leg of the VELUX 5 OCEANS started on 22 October from Bilbao, Spain. Six international skippers crossed the start line in the Bay of Biscay bound for Fremantle, Western Australia. The leg is expected to take approximately six weeks with the first boat arriving in Australia around the first week in December.
The VELUX 5 OCEANS is the longest race for any individual in any sport. Over the first few days, the fleet will make their way along the northern coast of Spain to Cape Finistère where they will turn south towards the Southern Ocean. However, all of the skippers know that this race is a marathon and not a sprint. During the 30,000 miles sailed in the VELUX 5 OCEANS race, the yachts will encounter some of the most extreme sea and weather conditions on the planet.
For a complete list of all the news about the VELUX 5 OCEANS 2006-2007 CLICK HERE.