Derek Hatfield is back in the field of Around Alone, and Emma Richards has 'a shocker'

Canadian sailor Derek Hatfield left Napier, New Zealand, today to start again on leg 4 of Around Alone after making repairs to his electronics. After installing new batteries at the Tauranga stopover, Hatfield was getting a spike of up to 17 volts every time he started his engine and as a result all his electrical gear failed. He arrived in Napier exhausted after handsteering for 26 hours.

He was towed in and will therefore have to take a 48-hour penalty. This is a really unfortunate blow for Hatfield, who has sailed a superb race in his Open 40, as it will probably dislodge him from 2nd place in his class.

At the front of the pack, the customary order has re-formed. Bernard Stamm is leading in Bobst Group Armor-Lux, with Thierry Dubois in Solidaires in 2nd place. At the rear of Class 1 is Emma Richards in Pindar, racing hard with Class 2 leader Brad Van Liew in Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America. Emma confesses that she’s ‘having a shocker!’

‘I really thought that by now the wind should have come aft a little more and we could ease onto an easier and faster course, but the wind insists on teasing us and keeping us just low of course, still hard on the wind. I say ‘we’ as I still have had Brad in my sights all day. He has been good company to talk to and I don’t really want to lose sight of ‘the dude’ but no matter what I adjust to gain a little , he is attached to me with elastic! I wouldn’t normally mind so much – BUT HES NOT IN A 60-FOOTER!

‘Again I keep reminding myself it is a long leg, but that’s already a broken record in my head and I could really do with being a week down the line already after a few really fast days so I didn’t have the whole leg in front! Its amazing how the whole psych of this leg is different, there has been a bigger build up maybe, more focus on it. I have images of how much ice we saw down here on Amer Sports 2 (Volvo Ocean Race) a year ago, and it really isn’t good to dwell on but it’s hard not to.

‘Also today been looking at a few nasties that the weather has in store for us further down the line . . .but I’ll leave that for another day. The really long term forecasts are not very accurate anyway, hmm. Time to put on some loud music and wash away those thoughts, sing along like you do in the car at the top of your voice when you think no-one is watching – until you realise you have stopped at the lights. At least I won’t get caught out this time!

Em x’