Derek Hatfield on Spirit of Canada has encountered strong headwinds and his speed has slowed to around 4 knots. It's very frustrating and uncomfortable as the wind blows against the Gulf Stream whipping up a steep seaway.
Hatfield estimates that he will not arrive in Newport until somtime early Saturday. We will keep you posted on his latest ETA as we get more information.
While Derek Hatfield soldiers on towards the finish of the Around Alone, there is other news to report. And it's good news for two of the skippers. Those close to the race have known for sometime that discussions were underway between Pindar and Hexagon to purchase Hexagon for Emma Richards. Hexagon, you will remember, was dismasted on Leg 4 and has been stuck in Argentina after Graham Dalton sailed it there under jury rig. Dalton tried everything he could to get his boat back in the race, but the logistics of building a new mast and getting it to the remote seaside town on the east coast of Argentina proved too much for the Kiwi skipper. Instead he made other plans and once again the kindness and generosity of Emma's sponsor Andrew Pindar came into play. Today Mr. Pindar announced that he had purchased the boat and had ordered a new mast.
"We have acquired what we consider to be one of the best Open 60's on the water,"
Andrew Pindar said. "We want to build on our success from the Around Alone and give Emma the opportunity to compete at the very highest level. She has been a great ambassador for us throughout the past four years and we have received considerable business benefit through our involvement in sailing. Our ultimate aim is to put together a syndicate for the Volvo Ocean Race in 2005."
In order for Emma to skipper an entry in the prestigious Volvo Ocean Race, Pindar will have to pull in some partners since the sponsorship ticket for that event is considerably more than that for an Around Alone campaign.
Emma of course is delighted with her new boat. "I am absolutely thrilled that we have managed to acquire such a good boat,"
she said. "We have a great race schedule planned for the next three years and we are also hoping that we could potentially use the boat for development and training purposes for a Volvo campaign. Either way, I am really excited as this is the first boat that we have actually owned, and it will enable us to build a team that will be very competitive over the next couple of years."
The partnership between Emma and Pindar is one shining example that sailing sponsorship is a very good investment on behalf of the company putting up the cash. There are other equally talented sailors out there looking to work hard on behalf of a corporation interested in global exposure and an association with high profile sailing events. Maybe Tim Kent and Bruce Schwab do not have that same dazzling smile as Emma, but they are no less marketable.