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15 February 2007, 03:02 pm
BASURKO Feels The Squeeze
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VELUX 5 OCEANS 2006-2007

Whilst VELUX 5 OCEANS leader Bernard STAMM (SUI) has reported 22 knot head winds halfway through the South Atlantic, in the Pacific Ocean the back three yachts have compressed further overnight preparing to round Cape Horn. Sir Robin KNOX-JOHNSTON (GBR) has swooped down from the north, halving the distance between his Open 60, SAGA Insurance, and the leading backmarker, Unai BASURKO (ESP).
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At the front of the fleet, Bernard STAMM reported to the race office in this morning's safety call, 'In the Southern Ocean, we almost forget what it is like going up wind and tacking.

'I have to go through the permanent front which is almost always between Brazil and St Helena high-pressure,' STAMM continued, explaining his current heading taking Cheminées Poujoulat further from the Brazilian coast. Just under 1,000 miles offshore, the race leader hopes to tack back towards the coast as soon as conditions allow, 'Behind this front, I'll normally be able to head north in direction of Recife.'

Meanwhile, 1,800 miles further south, second place Kojiro SHIRAISHI (JPN) is now committed Spirit of Yukoh to leaving the Falkland Islands to port and, like STAMM, is heading upwind into a 16 knot northeasterly breeze. Currently positioned 90 miles southeast of the islands, SHIRAISHI has finally escaped the calm weather that stalled progress and is now averaging just over 8 knots.

Further Back

As the back three yachts move within 1,000 miles of Cape Horn, KNOX-JOHNSTON has reduced the gap to third place BASURKO on Pakea to just 17 miles.

Last night, Graham DALTON (NZL) fulfilled his promise and stopped heading south, levelling his dive at 56° South, but has lost 23 miles to KNOX-JOHNSTON and the Kiwi Open 50, A Southern Man AGD, now trails the British boat by 54 miles. The east-west spread between the backmarkers remains at 68 miles, but the north-south distance is now below 100 miles as BASURKO feels the squeeze from the chasing yachts.

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, Kojiro SHIRAISHI captures the beauty at sea:© Kojiro Shiraishi
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