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20 February 2007, 02:04 pm
DALTON Heads For Falkland Islands
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VELUX 5 OCEANS 2006-2007

Just a day after Sir Robin KNOX-JOHNSTON (GBR) pulled into Ushuaia to fix - among other things - his broken mainsail headcar, Graham DALTON (NZL) has suffered the same breakage aboard A Southern Man AGD. The New Zealander is making his way towards Port Stanley on the Falkland Islands, and he has made contact with the Fisheries Department to request assistance as he draws nearer.
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Like KNOX-JOHNSTON, DALTON said that he needed to pull in to repair the headboard car before negotiating the expected headwinds going northwards up the Atlantic. Upwind sailing exerts the most force on the headcar and without it there would be a danger of the whole sail ripping away from the mast, so it Would be foolhardy for DALTON to continue in the boat's current state.

DALTON and KNOX-JOHNSTON's problems will give Unai BASURKO (ESP) some breathing room as he makes good progress north. However, the big winner of the past day is Kojiro SHIRAISHI (JPN) who has taken more than 100 miles out of Bernard STAMM's (SUI) lead in the past 24 hours, although the race leader still holds a very comfortable lead of just over 1,900 miles. Much of the Japanese sailor's gain can be put down to the Swiss sailor's slow progress through wildly unpredictable wind conditions as he gets into Doldrums territory.

Obstacles For SHIRAISHI

SHIRAISHI has been enjoying his good progress but sees more obstacles over the horizon. 'Unchanged since yesterday, the wind is still blowing through. The wind is stronger than I anticipated. However, the wind has turned around and is now facing me. Now I'm sailing upwind and the boat has started to punch through the waves.

'Today the sky was cloudless, but as the boat sails on the deck is being washed wildly. The boat's deck is now completely wet. The temperature has risen considerably, the warm Helly Hansen trousers that had served me so well have been put away. The trousers have helped me numerous times in the past. They were exceptionally warm, light and easy wearing. In fact these trousers aren't for sale but were generously custom made for myself for this race. I'd like to thank the Helly Hansen staff personally for their generosity. My Southern Ocean journey was considerably more comfortable because of them!

'Within the boat, it was quite normal for me to wear a comfortable feathered jacket and trousers. They're both warm and light. Except the feathers within them did occasionally fall to the floor. The floor was littered with both my own hair and these feathers! A surprising amount of my own hair fell out. Within my house, the floor is vacuumed so I never know the extent of the problem. Unfortunately there's no hiding from it on this boat and the problem has become all too apparent. My hair falls out really easily!'

The expected weather is certainly frustrating enough to make SHIRAISHI want to tear his hair out. 'The weather forecast is not very promising. There are two lateral bands [stretching from east to west] of no wind that I must negotiate. There really is no escaping them. The second band is looking like more of an obstacle than the first. This is greater than the challenge of overcoming the Berlin Wall?this is the Great Wall of China!'

The weather seems to have been particularly unkind to SHIRAISHI on leg 2 of the VELUX 5 OCEANS, after the Southern Ocean left him stranded with a lack of wind and allowed STAMM to race away into an unchallenged lead a few weeks ago. Surely SHIRAISHI's luck must return at some point. 'It's frustrating to see these obstacles appear one after another on my journey. I pray the forecasts are wrong, if not it looks like these trials are ongoing. With the help of your support and prayers, I will battle on.'

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, Graham DALTON is has broken his broken mainsail headcar:© onEdition
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