Japanese skipper Kojiro Shiraishi finished the first leg of the Velux 5 Oceans Race earlier today 7/12/06

Japanese skipper Kojiro Shiraishi has crossed the first leg finish line of the the Velux 5 Oceans Race.

Shiraishi sailed across the line in Fremantle (Western Australia) aboard the Open 60 Spirit of Yukoh at 22h00 27 local time (13h00m27s GMT) after 46 days, 2 hours, 00 minutes, 27 seconds at sea. This is the best result for a Japanese sailor in the history of this singlehanded around the world race since Yukoh Tada (after whom Koji’s boat is named) won class 2 in the 1982-3 race.

Shiraishi left Bilbao with the rest of the fleet on 22 October and completed the 12,000-mile crossing just four days after the winner Bernard Stamm. Stamm commenting on Shiraishi’s results said: “Koji is getting better and better. He is doing a very good race on this first leg.”