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20 March 2007, 11:14 am
DALTON Loses Keel Bulb
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VELUX 5 OCEANS 2006-2007
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Disaster has struck again for Graham DALTON (NZL) during his ill fated stay in Fortaleza, Brazil. Since arriving at 09:30 UTC on the 14 March to fix the cassette which holds his port rudder after hitting a UFO in the middle of the night the Kiwi skipper has been struck by blow after blow of misfortune, not to mention a debilitating sickness and an onboard robbery.
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Monday, was no exception as DALTON rang Race Director, David ADAMS to inform him that during a boat test prior to re-joining the race he realized that the keel bulb was missing.

'I think my bulb has gone. It was blowing 8 knots and the boat fell over and I tried to cant the keel and I couldn't see it. So I dived down, the visibility was exceedingly poor but I could see that the bulb has gone.'

DALTON has returned to the marina in Fortaleza, to re-assess the situation. Just when you think it could not get it worse - Monday was a public holiday in the port and so DALTON will not be able to get things moving until today. He is currently looking at his options.

On The Race Course

Back on the race course, Sir Robin KNOX-JOHNSON (GBR) and SAGA Insurance are abreast of French Guinea having crossed the equator on his birthday at 19:32 UTC on Saturday.

KNOX-JOHNSON described his celebrations, 'I spent the day sailing, listening to my birthday present from the children of the 50s greatest hits and receiving the rugby results. Celebrated with some cake and a bottle of wine, well not all the contents of the bottle, but otherwise just pleased to be moving.

'The cabin was very hot again, but with a heavy overcast sky it was cool on deck, so made a nice change. With this steady NNE wind the boat has sailed herself all night without the wind alarm going off once - sheer bliss! RKJ'

Ahead of the Brit and sitting comfortably in third is Unai BASURKO (ESP) and Pakea. The Basque skipper is currently 835 nm from the finish in Norfolk, and over 1,500 nm ahead of KNOX-JOHNSON.

About The Race

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.

VELUX 5 OCEANS (As Amended by ISAF), Image, Sir Robin KNOX-JOHNSON has crossed the equator:© Jonathan Selby/onEdition
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