Why the leader will be having mixed emotions about this race, and the last leg in particular


As Bernard Stamm arrives in Virginia and notches up another leg win in the Velux 5 Oceans, I feel more and more sorry for him. He has been racing on his own at the front of this hopelessly depleted fleet since Mike Golding and Alex Thomson were forced out, not an easy place for someone who is used to and would prefer the motivation of close competition. And for what? The race is of almost no importance in his home market, France (OK he’s Swiss, but that’s his sponsor’s market and his adopted country). Nor its there much to be gained in the English-speaking countries. His win is a given, so for us it is all about Sir Robin. It’s as if Bernard were invisible.

He must also be acutely aware of how easily even the diminished prize of a 1st place overall could slip away on the last leg. One catastrophe on the final leg to Bilbao, and the race is lost – 2nd place would be nothing. What a position to be in after racing almost all the way round the world.