Judged by the likes of Boris Becker, this dramatic V5O picture has won an international award 28/2/07

Photographer Dan Towers hovered in his helicopter over the Velux 5 Oceans leader Bernard Stamm in his yacht, Cheminees Poujoulat, in a storm with 70 knot winds to take this dramatic shot for onEdition Photography that has won first prize in an international photographic competition – the prestigious German Sven-Simon-Preis award.

The judges included German tennis star Boris Becker and Christian Putsch, Picture Editor of DIE WELT/WELT am SONNTAG, the German National newspapers who run the award. Putsch described it as: “Amazing – it looked more like a painting than a photograph”.

The image was shot in the Bay of Biscay, shortly after the start of the Velux 5 Oceans, which the onEdition team are the official photographers for. Within hours of the start the fleet were hit by a huge storm, gusting at over 70 knots (77mph). Photographer Dan Towers set off in a helicopter, for what could only be described as a roller coaster ride, to try and catch up to the besieged fleet. One of the resulting images was of Swiss solo sailor Bernard Stamm and his yacht, Cheminees Poujoulat, fighting for survival in huge seas and wind, which was awarded as the winning shot of the annual competition.

Clare MacNaughton, Communications Director for the Velux 5 Oceans said: “Sometimes planning plus circumstance equals unprecedented results, but even with the all the right ingredients it takes an exceptional chef to produce a Michelin star meal. Dan Towers Velux 5 Oceans storm image is a Carpe Diem moment, brilliantly shot and capturing exquisitely the essence of our race and the endeavour of the solo skipper. Hanging out of a single engine helicopter, with the doors removed, in 70 knots of breeze to get the shot is no small undertaking either. We are delighted that this image is getting the recognition that it deserves.”

Dan is the first non-German photographer ever to win the award and receives both the accolade and a cash prize of ?12,500.

Dan commented: “It is a great honour and very much a team award. The guys that work with me are a close and very dedicated team -without them this award would not have happened and they will all be getting a share of the prize money. It is great to have your work recognised in this way, especially after all the hard work that we have put into ensuring that the Velux 5 Oceans reached the news and features pages of the worlds press.”