The podium finish represents an improving performance for the local hero of Bilbao, which will be the final port of call for the all the skippers at the end of April when the fleet returns to where all the action began back in October 2006.
Speaking on the dockside, BASURKO commented, 'It has been a very difficult leg and we are very pleased to be here. To finish second or third is important but the most important is to finish. When you finish you have everything. When sailing in Southern Ocean and you round Cape Horn and you are tacking up the Atlantic and you arrive here and you are finish. You feel so proud it is fantastic.
'This year was very hard in the Southern Ocean, many cold fronts and very windy but also very beautiful as well. The Atlantic has been very strategically difficult and the race has been very tiring. I am looking forward to some down time with my friends and family and getting the boat ready for the next leg.
'It is very close between me and Sir Robin but I know the North Atlantic very well and I am looking forward to the next leg. It will be very special for me to arrive in Bilbao. But before you finish anything is possible and it is so important to finish. I am very happy with myself because I know I do my best and I know Robin is doing his best also. But I can say it, I will be waiting for Robin with good wine in Bilbao.'
The podium finish should propel BASURKO from fifth to third in the overall rankings for the VELUX 5 OCEANS. After the leg one, he was over five days behind Sir Robin KNOX-JOHNSTON (GBR), who finished third. However, with SAGA Insurance still over 1,000 miles from the finish, the Basque sailor hero should guarantee that he moves past KNOX-JOHNSTON and Graham DALTON (NZL) in the general rankings and secure third place before the final sprint home.
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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