The big unspoken mystery of the 5 Oceans is one skipper's erratic course and progress


The big unspoken mystery of the Velux 5 Oceans is the bizarre and unpredictable progress of the wandering Basque sailor Unai Basurko. Exactly what is he up to?

I don’t know if you saw his track on the last leg, but after passing Cape Finisterre he lit out as if heading for the Caribbean. For quite a long time his course was north of west before he abruptly turned south. Then he took such a peculiar detour in the South Atlantic that it seemed as if he was intending to divert to Cape Town.

And here he is doing it again, this time heading from Fremantle to the Southern Ocean by way of?.Adelaide? He explained a couple of days ago that he had headwinds and couldn’t sail where he wanted to go. If so, his Open 60 Pakea really must be catastrophically unweatherly because everyone else seems able to go in roughly the right direction. RK-J, who was 48 hours behind him after returning to port with autopilot problems will be past Basurko very soon at this rate.

There’s a story here somewhere. Looking at Basurko’s course so far, I wonder if he’s shy of the Southern Ocean. I don’t blame him at all – who wouldn’t be? – but this race doesn’t offer a lot of other options. His strange progress makes me feel slightly uneasy.

By the way, there’s still a good, simple, fast-loading race viewer on Mike Golding’s site