British skipper hitting good speeds on pedigree Eco 60 yacht

BRITISH ocean racer Chris Stanmore-Major has warned his VELUX 5 OCEANS rivals to “watch this space” after consistently notching up quick speeds in the past few days. In the 24 hours leading up to yesterday’s 6pm UTC position report CSM’s Spartan was the joint-fastest boat in the fleet averaging 11.4 knots, matched only by ocean sprint three leader and overall race front runner Brad Van Liew.

A relative newcomer to solo ocean racing, CSM has made no secret of the fact that the first two ocean sprints – in which he finished fourth in both -  were a huge learning curve for him as he got to grips with taming the beast that is a high performance Eco 60 yacht. But with eight days and more than 2,000 nautical miles of ocean sprint three under his belt, confidence is running high onboard Spartan.

“I think we’ve been one of the fastest boats in the fleet for a couple of days now,” CSM told the VELUX 5 OCEANS race team this morning. “The lessons I learnt in legs one and two I have been able to apply now and suddenly when we’re on a body of water that is relatively close to the rest of the fleet we’re having some success showing our speed. We’ve been able to drag about 50 miles off Derek and Gutek in the last few days. It’s really enjoyable being on the boat when she’s able to be set free and run as quickly as she can. We’re having a pretty good time at the moment.”

The only issue CSM has had in the last few days is when a strop connecting a headsail to a halyard broke, dropping the sail into the water. CSM added: “I was only going about ten knots and using lessons I learnt in the Canaries where I blew up my Code 5 headsail and my gennaker. I was able to manoeuvre the boat alongside and hoist the sail back on to the deck. It only took about an hour.”

Spartan has a top pedigree in ocean racing, having won the VELUX 5 OCEANS under the helm of Italian Giovanni Soldini. In the 2006/7 edition of the race Sir Robin Knox-Johnston raced her round the world again as Grey Power. Despite trailing Brad by around 300 nautical miles CSM was this morning less than 170 miles behind third placed Derek Hatfield and is certain he can reel in the leading pack in the coming days.

“Brad is setting the standard on this race, he’s leading the race and is doing a really good job of sailing his boat quick and with little issue and that’s what I am striving to match,” CSM said. “Spartan is a very quick boat but I have had to learn how to operate her and how to sail her. To know that we are hitting the same figures as Brad is a very good thing and we’re going to continue to do that. Watch this space, there are good things coming for Spartan.”

The VELUX 5 OCEANS fleet are now less than 2,500 nautical miles from Cape Horn, the most southerly point of South America and one of the most feared bodies of water in the world.

Skipper / distance to finish (nm) / distance to leader (nm) / distance covered in last 24 hours (nm) / average speed in last 24 hours (kts)

Brad Van Liew, Le Pingouin: 3,548.9/ 0 / 313.7 / 13.1
Zbigniew Gutkowski, Operon Racing: 3,662.4 / 113.5 / 289.2 / 12
Derek Hatfield, Active House: 3,701 / 152.2 / 284.9 / 11.9
Chris Stanmore-Major, Spartan: 3,865.6 / 316.7 / 272.4 / 11.4