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7 February 2007, 01:39 pm
STAMM Rips Round Cape Horn In Huge Seas
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VELUX 5 OCEANS 2006-2007

Shortly before 21:30 UTC last night, VELUX 5 OCEANS race leader Bernard STAMM (SUI) scorched passed Cape Horn on a single gybe at 16 knots, leaving the infamous island to port.
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'Cape Horn was rough, but I could see the rock very well,' STAMM reported this morning. After sailing over 4,000 miles of bottomless Pacific Ocean abyss, STAMM encountered harsh conditions as the sea bed rose to just 68 metres off the cape, 'The waves became very big when I arrived in the shallow water,' he continued, ' and the wind had blown up to 50 knots.'

The 05:08 UTC position poll places STAMM 44 miles south of Isla de Los Estados, northeast of Cape Horn in the South Atlantic, 'It is good to be out of the South Pacific,' admits STAMM, 'At least I didn't see any icebergs,' he commented, before adding with caution, 'but it remains always a doubt when you are sailing.'

STAMM Avoids Le Maire Strait

Overnight, Cheminées Poujoulat banked an extra 57 miles over Spirit of Yukoh in second place: this lead of 1,800 miles is the probable reason for STAMM's decision to avoid slipping through the Le Maire Strait, a narrow and dangerous 15 mile wide channel between mainland Argentina and the Isla de Los Estados, opting instead for the longer route and continuing northeast.

Meanwhile, in mid-Pacific, Kojiro SHIRAISHI (JPN) continues due east, taking the Japanese Open 60 above the latitude of the second mandatory race ice gate, holding off any advance by third place Unai BASURKO (ESP) 1,000 miles to the west. Earlier this morning, BASURKO reported a rip in his headsail, explaining that any effective repairs would have to wait until the sail was dry. Having passed Ice Gate 1, BASURKO will soon decide whether to take Pakea back into the south.

BASURKO's northern position and sail damage has allowed Kiwi skipper, Graham DALTON, to steal 14 miles from the Spanish yacht, taking the Open 50, A Southern Man - AGD to within 96 miles of Pakea. Currently further south than Pakea, off BASURKO's starboard quarter, DALTON reported 28 knots of breeze at latitude 52° South, assuring the race office that all was well onboard, 'Just another day at the office,' he said this morning.

Mainsail Problems For KNOX-JOHNSTON

'A grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking,' wrote Sir Robin KNOX-JOHNSTON (GBR) this morning, quoting from John MASEFIELD's poem, Sea-Fever. However, this calm narrative distorts the fact that KNOX-JOHNSTON has had a gruelling night. The headboard car attaching the top of the mainsail to the mast track on SAGA Insurance has broken. This vital component allows the sail to slide up and down the mainsail track fixed to the trailing edge of the mast.

KNOX-JOHNSTON has made a temporary fix and is now able to sail with a small area of mainsail, hoisted to just below the third reef. With reduced sail, SAGA Insurance has lost 24 miles overnight on fourth place A Southern Man - AGD and now trails the yellow Open 50 by 80 miles in terms of Distance To Leader. KNOX-JOHNSTON reported a southwesterly Force 6 (22-27 mph), gusting to Force 7 (28-33 mph) with frequent squalls and will continue repair work when conditions allow.

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, Bernard STAMM has rounded Cape Horn:© onEdition
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