At noon local time on Wednesday, Derek Hatfield on Spirit of Canada left Salvador to start Leg 5 of the Around Alone. The skies were heavy with humidity, but nothing could dampen Hatfield's enthusiasm as he headed out to the start area.
"I am very happy to be back sailing,"
Hatfield said. "The stopover in Salvador was a little more than 48 hours because the mainsail needed a bit more work than we first anticipated, but it back at 100% and we are off heading for Newport."
There is no official start time for Spirit of Canada because the clock started ticking for Derek more than 3 weeks ago when the rest of the fleet got underway from Brazil. Derek now needs to sail all the way to Newport to remain an official entrant in the race and he is expected to arrive in New England at the end May.
While Derek deals with the light winds along the Brazilian coast his friend and fellow competitor Alan Paris on BTC Velocity is also being frustrated by light winds as he nears Newport. At the last poll BTC Velocity had just over 460 miles to sail and was averaging 6 knots. At that speed we can expect to see the bright yellow hull of BTC Velocity show up on the horizon off Newport early Sunday morning. The really difficult days of Paris's passage around the world have just started, but they are twinged with the acute pleasure of knowing that the voyage is nearly over. When you are the last boat sailing and you know that the rest of your competitors are safely showered and well fed in port while you still have to deal with the vagaries of fickle wind, it get very frustrating. Fortunately this time Alan knows that while he might have a long way to sail, Hatfield has even further and that piece of information must offer some comfort.
In Newport the skippers are taking time to relax and discuss future plans. Bernard Stamm has returned to France to visit with his new daughter Camille, as has Thierry Dubois who has gone home to see his wife Muriel and daughters. Emma Richard has been splashed on the front page of all the London newspapers and returned to the UK yesterday morning for a whirlwind week of television interviews, honorary awards and a quick visit to her new flat on the Isle of Wight. All of the sailors will return to Newport for the prize giving.
These reports on this website will continue until Derek Hatfield arrives in Newport. They will continue daily through the prize-giving on May 17, and then will be at the least every other day as we continue to track Derek's progress and revisit some of the highlight of the race. Derek's position along with boat speed etc will be updated daily on the front page of the website. Weather will be updated on the front page if there is something unusual approaching that will effect Derek's progress. Meanwhile an apology for those of you used to receiving the newsletters via email. A technical glitch did not allow the emails to go out. That glitch is being worked on and the emails will go out. Please forgive us for barraging your inbox - if you have read the stories please just delete the emails.