Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Race Chairman of Around Alone 2002-03, received the confirmation this afternoon from New Zealand skipper Graham Dalton on Hexagon that he has withdrawn from the race.
Dalton is currently in Puerto Madryn, Argentina, having dismasted 250 miles off the coast during Leg 4 after Hexagon experienced a crash gybe. He had been in 5th place in the leg from Tauranga, NZ to Salvador, Brazil, and was currently in 4th position overall in Class 1 with 19 points.
Dalton, speaking from Puerto Madryn, Argentina, reluctantly accepted that there was not enough time to complete repairs before the start of the final leg to Newport, RI on April 13th 2003: "I'm absolutely gutted that the race is over for me. It was just one of those things and certainly not down to a lack of preparation or attention to detail. I've been saying to the children I've been in contact with through the Global Education Challenge, that you aren't successful because of your successes; you're successful ultimately in the way you deal with failure. Well I certainly have to practice what I preach and I'm now working towards completing my circumnavigation."
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston added on receiving this news: "We understand the problems created by losing a mast and sourcing a replacement, and are as disappointed as he that it has not been possible to turn this around within a sensible time frame. Hexagon has proved to be a very fast boat and Dalton's performance had been steadily improving as the race progressed. We shall miss him and wish him well on his voyage to Newport."
HSBC will continue with the Global Education Challenge, the interactive educational website linked to the Around Alone race, as other skippers including the UK's Emma Richards on Pindar and the USA's Bruce Schwab on Ocean Planet are involved. Tens of thousands of children from schools in 35 countries across the world are participating in the Challenge.