Ocean racers waiting nervously for second part of storm to hit

Derek Hatfield's Active House - please credit Ainhoa Sanchez w-w-iCANADIAN ocean racer Derek Hatfield was today “licking his wounds” after a 12-hour battering from a Southern Ocean storm that brought with it winds of more than 40 knots and huge, confused seas. The 57-year-old’s only respite from the carnage came when he reached the eye of the storm and winds suddenly dropped to around 10 knots.

After managing to sleep less than an hour in the past 24 hours, Derek was this morning taking advantage of the lighter winds found in the very centre of the depression to catch up on some desperately needed rest. But it was by no means over yet for the skipper of Active House – Derek must face the storm again, the second half of it standing in between him and his escape into more favourable conditions.

“I’m licking my wounds here, it’s been a heck of a day,” Derek said. “The storm seems to be in remission right now but it’s coming back for sure. It hit in the morning and it was pretty extreme in its power. The GRIB files showed that it was going to build slowly to about 25 knots but I saw 40 knots. I took a couple of big hits from some waves but luckily I wasn’t rolled or knocked down. It’s a pretty extreme place, not for the faint of heart at all.”

The relentless mauling then suddenly subsided as Derek reached the eye of the storm. Despite providing a rest from the gale force winds, Derek had to face a different and equally dangerous situation: huge, confused waves, with no wind to power Active House over them.

“It was horrendous,” added Derek, who has shot into second place ahead of Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski’. “Huge pyramids of water smashing around all over the place. It was the worst banging and crashing off waves I have ever had. Even on the small waves the boat was falling off them and slamming down bow first. It’s a wonder the mast is still attached to the boat.”

It was a similar situation onboard Gutek’s Operon Racing, now trailing Derek by 15 nautical miles. “Only the swell is left and it is hitting Operon Racing badly,” Gutek said. “I am in the eye of the storm just waiting for the next big blow.”

Chris Stanmore-Major is also been hit by storms, read his latest blog

Ocean sprint two positions at 00h00 UTC:

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: 2589.8/ 0 / 298.7 / 12.4

Derek Hatfield, Active House: 2838.9/ 249.1 / 244.8/ 10.2

Zbigniew Gutkowski, Operon Racing: 2854.5/ 264.7 / 214.8/ 9

Chris Stanmore-Major, Spartan: 3560.1/ 970.3/ 202 / 8.4

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VELUX 5 OCEANS – The Ultimate Solo Challenge

The VELUX 5 OCEANS is the Ultimate Solo Challenge, the ultimate human endeavour. More than 500 people have been into space – less than 180 have sailed round the world solo. The VELUX 5 OCEANS is a series of five high-pressure ocean sprints within a marathon 30,000-nautical mile circumnavigation. The race, run every four years since 1982, has a rich heritage which has given rise to some of the world's best sailors. The VELUX 5 OCEANS is not only the longest round the world yacht race but at nearly 30 years old is also the longest running. Always at the forefront of ocean racing innovation, the 2010/11 VELUX 5 OCEANS will see the premiere of the Eco 60 class of yachts, pushing a message of sustainability, accessibility and affordability.


About the VELUX Group 

The VELUX Group holds the title sponsorship of VELUX 5 OCEANS for the second time. The spirit, values and nature of the race and its skippers are similar to those of the VELUX Group. As a manufacturer of roof windows, the VELUX Group employs creativity and an innovative approach to the development of new products and business strategies. In its mission to create better living environments with daylight and fresh air through the roof the Group has earned the reputation of being one of the strongest brands in the global building materials sector. The VELUX Group has manufacturing companies in 11 countries and sales companies in just under 40 countries, it has about 10,000 employees and is owned by VKR Holding A/S, a limited company wholly owned by foundations and family. 


Clipper Ventures Plc

This year marks 41 years since Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's historic solo and non-stop circumnavigation in 1969. Now, as Chairman of Clipper Ventures PLC, he is at the forefront of promoting round the world yacht racing. Clipper Ventures, the marine sports company founded in 1995, is focused on developing and promoting major events capable of attracting significant participation, income, media coverage and associated sponsorship revenue. Knox-Johnston founded Clipper Ventures on the belief that sailing should be made available to everyone and therefore created the Clipper Round the World Race, with 2,000 people having now completed one of the seven races to date.


Race Partners and Suppliers

Transportation Partner, Maersk Line: www.maerskline.com 

Start/Finish Port, La Rochelle (France): www.ville-larochelle.fr / www.agglo-larochelle.fr 

Host Ports: Cape Town, Wellington, Punta del Este, Charleston

Technical Clothing Supplier: www.henrilloyd.com 

Navigation/Routing Supplier: www.maxsea.com 

Research Partner, Portsmouth University: www.port.ac.uk 

Sustainability Partner, Sailors for the Sea: www.sailorsforthesea.org

Marine Forecast Supplier:  http://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/    

Official Timekeeper: www.nauticawatches.com  

Electronic Chart Supplier: www.jeppesen.com/lightmarine