Around Alone 2002-03 enters its last week with the tenth and final boat, Open 40 Spirit of Canada skippered by Canadian Derek Hatfield, now only 632 miles from the finish line off Castle Hill in Newport RI.
Positioned 10 miles to the west of Bermuda this morning, Hatfield looks set to finish during Friday 30th May, weather depending. Hatfield is enjoying southwesterlies, which should continue for most of this week, as he steers Spirit of Canada on the home stretch to Newport, RI.
Hatfield's latest log shows that he is still in racing mode, despite his delayed finish after pitch-poling and dismasting at Cape Horn on 7th March. His final major obstacle before completing his round the world race is the Gulf Stream: "I am heading a little West of the finish line as I want to bypass a cold water eddy that lies on the direct route to Newport. These eddies are spun off the Gulf Stream and are like huge turntables rotating in the ocean. You really want to be on the right side of the turntable or you find yourself in adverse currents for upwards of 60 miles or more. I have studied the Gulf Stream chart and have picked my entry point into it to try and minimize the time actually in the stream. This stretch of water is probably one of the most complicated in the world to navigate properly."
Spirit of Canada is still ranked and providing the boat crosses the line, Hatfield is set to take 3rd place overall in Class 2. Fellow competitors Brad Van Liew, Bruce Schwab, Tim Kent and Alan Paris are intending to come back to welcome their friend across the finish line, as well as his family and a host of Canadian and local supporters.