Stamm retains control at top of Velux 5 Oceans Race fleet 31/10/06

On the eighth day at sea, with the Cape Verde Islands 270 miles to the south of Cheminées Poujoulat, Bernard Stamm has pulled away from the rest of the Velux 5 Oceans Race fleet. The Swiss skipper put an extra 64 miles between his Open 60 and Spirit of Yukoh in second position, 254 miles to the north, and continues to maintain higher speed averages than the Japanese yacht.

Kojiro Shiraishi has had a frustrating time on Spirit of Yukoh, experiencing conditions normally found in the Doldrums, 1,300 miles to the south: Reporting last night Koji said: “The low pressure is approaching and squall is mixing with it creating very strange clouds. The wind speed fluctuates from 10 knots to over 40knots. To cope with the varying winds I am up and down like a yo-yo from the full mainsail to three reefs. The wind direction is unpredictable, too. You never know if it will blow from the right or left.”

West of the Canary Islands, Mike Golding (Ecover) and Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) have been making the highest average speeds in the fleet over the last 24 hours with Thomson gaining just 15 miles from Golding during the night. Like Shiraishi, Golding is puzzled by the current weather anomaly in the North Atlantic, commenting: “I am now back into the groove again and the boat has no big problems,” but I am going upwind as there is currently low pressure where there should be high pressure. I should be in the Azores High, but I am in the Azores Low. But at least it is warm and, until a few hours ago it has been beautiful, albeit it is now a bit squally,”

Off the coast of Portugal, 593 miles behind Hugo Boss and 160 miles off Lisbon, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and SAGA Insurance have had a slow 24 hours, allowing Graham Dalton (A Southern Man – AGD) to gain 34 miles overnight. Dalton has now passed Spanish skipper Unai Basurko who is subject to a 48 hour, in-port, time penalty having suspended racing on Monday morning and sailed his Open 60, Pakea, into Vigo for repairs and adjustments to the yacht’s autopilots.

Positions at 0532
1 Cheminees Poujoulat Bernard Stamm 21° 21.44 N/026° 04.80 W 146deg 11kts boat speed 9559(DTF)
2 Spirit of Yukoh Kojiro Shiraishi 25° 30.04 N/024° 14.00 W 176deg 10kts boat speed 254(DTL)
3 Ecover Mike Golding 29° 05.04 N/021° 07.48 W 226deg 12.1kts boat speed 492(DTL)
4 Hugo Boss Alex Thomson 30° 18.16 N/018° 17.36 W 214deg 11.2kts boat speed 598(DTL)
5 SAGA Insurance Sir Robin Knox-Johnston 39° 16.40 N/013° 03.52 W 231deg 1.3kts boat speed 1191(DTL)
6 A Southern Man-AGD Graham Dalton 41° 10.80 N/012° 34.36 W 177deg 1.2kts boat speed 1306(DTL)
Pakea Unai Basurko: 48hr penalty in Vigo, Spain