CANADIAN DEREK HATFIELD LEADS VELUX 5 OCEANS FLEET IN SECOND SPRINT
Fleet still bunched after one day’s racing
CANADIAN ocean racer Derek Hatfield has reclaimed the lead less than 24 hours into the second sprint of the VELUX 5 OCEANS. Keen to make up for a slow start at the beginning of sprint one in La Rochelle, the veteran solo sailor was the first of the international fleet to cross the start line of the second leg in Cape Town on Active House.
It was a tough start to the Southern Ocean sprint with light airs dogging the skippers as they tried to steal any advantage they could over their rivals as the five Eco 60 yachts headed south from the start. Polish ocean racer Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski on Operon Racing looked to have the advantage as the fleet passed Robben Island but it was American ocean sprint one winner Brad Van Liew on Le Pingouin who emerged in front at the first six-hourly position report.
However it was all change again by midnight UTC: despite Brad being further south than Derek and Gutek, Active House was more to the east and leading Operon Racing by just under one nautical mile with Le Pingouin in third 2.4 nautical miles behind. British skipper Chris Stanmore-Major on Spartan and Belgian ocean racer Christophe Bullens on Five Oceans of Smiles too were both 15 nautical miles behind the leading yacht, CSM opting for a more southerly route while Christophe took a more easterly heading.
All five skippers will face patchy light winds as they punch through a high pressure system which currently blocks their paths to the stronger westerly winds that they are searching for. The Cape Town to Wellington sprint, the second of five that make up the VELUX 5 OCEANS, is around 7,500 nautical miles with the first yachts expected to arrive in New Zealand in early January.