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5 March 2007, 03:32 pm
Historic Victory For STAMM
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VELUX 5 OCEANS 2006-2007
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Bernard STAMM (SUI), onboard his Open 60 Cheminees Poujoulat, crossed the finish line of leg 2 in the VELUX 5 OCEANS at 22:59:25 local time on Saturday evening (03:59:45 UTC). After 48 days, 22 hours and 59 minutes 45 seconds and 15,725 miles of racing, the defending champion arrived in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.
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STAMM's victory marks an historic achievement in the race and reflects a flawless display by the Swiss hero since he left Fremantle, Australia on 14 January. With a monumental lead of over 3,000 miles over second-placed Kojiro SHIRAISHI (JPN), STAMM has surely sealed overall victory in the VELUX 5 OCEANS, with only a sprint leg back to the start-finish port of Bilbao, Spain left to complete the circumnavigation of the planet.

Speaking on the dockside, STAMM commented, 'I am very happy to win and I am very happy to be able to do what I planned to do with the weather. It was always quite right. I had a lot of time to do it and there was no pressure from the other competitors. It was easier than if there was ten boats in ten miles. It meant that I could concentrate on analysing the weather.'Cape Horn was very rough. I don't like Cape Horn and after that the most difficult place in the leg was the Doldrums. The Doldrums is a very difficult place to navigate. I hate the Doldrums. It's a long leg. Everyone focused on the watermaker but it's not a problem - there is rain. It's a big problem when you are in the Sahara but not when you are in the Doldrums there is rain there everyday. I had lot of problems with the auto-pilot, with cars, with sails. When you lose your autopilot that is like losing your crew.

'I am still motivated because it's still navigation and I have to be careful to sail properly because I could sink. There may not be lots of competition but I still have to finish to win.'

One Of The Greatest

The victory in leg two confirms STAMM as one of the greatest competitors to have participated in this historic leg. Having emphatically won the last race, the Swiss skipper again proved his talent and seamanship in his victory in leg 1, where he finished over three days ahead of SHIRAISHI after the two main British contenders had withdrawn. Leg 2, from Fremantle to Norfolk, was set to be even tougher and longer, taking the fleet deep into the Southern Ocean, round Cape Horn, up the Atlantic through the Doldrums and up to the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay.

The second leg delivered lots of luck and ideal conditions for STAMM. The Southern Ocean was uncharacteristically calm and benign, with little threat of icebergs and growlers during the run to South America. Cheminees Poujoulat was first across the start line with Sir Robin KNOX JOHNSTON's (GBR) SAGA Insurance snapping at his heels but that was the closest the fleet of five other boats got to STAMM and he never looked back. Once around Australia's Cape Leeuwin and having rocketed past the south island of New Zealand, STAMM was presented with a huge high pressure system blocking his route to the first ice waypoint. However, nothing stands in the way of Super STAMM and with a bit of luck and huge amounts of skill, he dived far south as far as 56 degrees before rounding the system back north to skim past the eastern-most point of the gate in a marvellous manoeuvre.

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Bernard STAMM celebrates
his leg 2 victory
© on Edition
STAMM continued to keep up the pace as he raced towards the Horn, which he passed in big seas and winds, but infinitely better conditions that his previous trips around the famous landmark. The weather systems throughout the leg suited his route and allowed Cheminees Poujoulat to build a substantial and unassailable lead over his closest rival SHIRAISHI. His boat also held up well for him and despite a number of small problems to attend to throughout the journey, no major problems slowed down the Brittany-based skipper or forced him to land to make repairs.

Amundsen Trophy

During the leg, STAMM crossed the 'Amundsen Gate' and therefore won the Amundsen Trophy, a prize donated by the official time keeper Amundsen Oslo. The Amundsen Trophy was set up to the first skipper to cross the 'Amundsen Gate' located at 163 degrees west longitude. This longitude marks the starting point and route of Roald AMUNDSEN´s (NOR) expedition to become the first man to reach the South Pole in 1911. The trophy will be presented to STAMM after the race finish in Bilbao. The Swiss crossed the longitude of 163W on the 26th January between 11:30 and 12:00 UTC, some 3.5 days ahead of SHIRAISHI.

Now on land, the shattered skipper will rest and recover before preparing for what will surely be his victory march into Bilbao at the end of April.

Commenting on the victory, Australian Race Director, and previous race winner, David ADAMS commented, 'This is a truly phenomenal effort by a remarkable sailor. Bernard STAMM is a credit to the sport of solo sailing.'

On arrival into Norfolk, STAMM will enjoy a much deserved celebration of his achievement before heading back to France to see his brand new Open 60 for the first time since acquiring the former yacht of Jean Pierre DICK (FRA). Norfolk will play host to the VELUX 5 OCEANS throughout March as the other skippers arrive, with the yachts moored in downtown Norfolk at the waterfront marina in the heart of the city. The yachts will set off on the final leg of the round the world race to Bilbao on 15 April, with a spectacular send off in Norfolk and the Chesapeake Bay ahead of the start of the Azalea Festival (NATO festival) and the 400 year celebrations of the Jamestown landings.

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, A victorious Bernard STAMM arrives into Norfolk:© onEdition
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