It marks the end of a tough and frustrating second leg for the spiritual adventurer, which saw him plagued by problematic weather patterns and bad luck ever since he left Fremantle, Western Australia on 14 January.
Speaking on the dockside, SHIRAISHI commented, 'I am very happy to be on dry land. Sixty days is a very long time to be at sea alone. It was a leg of patience from the start of the race when I had the high pressure in front of me. Patience, patience, patience. I crossed the Southern Ocean stuck in a high pressure system; it was not like the Southern Ocean you expect. But there was no major damage onboard so I am very happy.
'Bernard did a great job tactically and with fantastic sailing skills and perhaps even a little bit of luck but I must congratulate him on a fantastic race. But I will retain my style to keep the boat safe and I won't change that style.'
He commented on his stopover in Norfolk, 'I have a lot of friends living in America and I look forward to seeing them again.'
SHIRAISHI looked in great shape and did not look like a man who had just spent 60 days alone at sea, 'There was no wind so plenty of time to wash clothes, to eat and eat and eat!' Unlike his arrival in Fremantle, where the race had taken its toll to such an extent that he lost 8 kilos in weight.
During the early part of the Southern Ocean leg SHIRAISHI was awestruck by an incredible sight.
'For two days at sea the sky was lit with the lights of the Aurealis Australis [Southern Lights] and at the same time passed the Mcnaught Comet - it was unforgettable.'
Only three days behind leader Bernard STAMM (SUI) after the dramatic first leg, the Japanese hero is now over 15 days behind the defending champion from Switzerland. Although any hope of victory may now appear slim, the result still marks a monumental achievement for SHIRAISHI, who has attracted followers and admirers in Japan and around the world with his captivating logs, beautiful pictures of life at sea and his assured performance in an Open 60 racing yacht.
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.
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