Velux 5 Oceans Race fleet make most of light conditions and Stamm continues to head the fleet 30/10/06

Relatively light winds yesterday (Sunday) allowed Japanese solo sailor, Kojiro Shiraishi, to carry out running repairs to his Open 60, Spirit of Yukoh.

According to Shiraishi, who’s currently 300 miles due west of the Canary Islands in second position 225 behind race leader Bernard Stamm on Cheminées Poujoulat, he had to sort out a problem with his mainsheet winch, commenting: “The winch felt stiff an on closer examination one of the bolts within the winch had come loose and jammed it. That bolt was pinned against the mount and wouldn’t budge. The mount itself was being worn away. I managed to pull the bolt out as it was bent, but now the 8-bolt winch had been reduced to a 7-bolt winch. I hope it holds out!”

Concerned that this problem may affect the boat’s other winches, Koji made a thorough inspection: “I checked the other winches, and I found the portside primary winch to also have the same problem. One of the bolts had become loose and was wearing away its mount. Again, I took out the loose bolt to solve the problem. This issue is affecting the two most important winches. In all the other winches many of the bolts had also come loose but thankfully none of the others had started to wear away at their mounts. I went on to tighten all the bolts. Thinking about it, I’m glad that we are not in the Southern Ocean right now. I’m pleased to have managed to fix the problems during these calm conditions.”

Koji spent the remainder of the day on maintenance, adding: “The rope cover of the gennaker had ripped. I fixed this using thread and needle as an emergency repair. I also attempted to recharge the yacht’s batteries. A 4 to 5 hour recharge: the noise and heat within the cabin is extreme.”

Elsewhere in the fleet Mike Golding aboard Ecover has taken third place- 500 miles behind the leader and is feeling positive about his performance. In his latest report from the boat yesterday afternoon Golding said: “I feel pretty happy with regard to my position against Alex [Thomson] at the moment. His boat should be better than us in these conditions with a bigger, lighter rig, so it’s nice to be doing OK against him.”

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston rounded Cape Finistere at midnight on Saturday and is making good progress off the Spanish coast and is now just over 1,000 miles from the leader.