Battle at the rear of Velux 5 Oceans race gains momentum while race leader Bernard Stamm extends lead 24/1/07

After a difficult, squally night aboard Open 60 Saga Insurance at the back of the fleet British Velux 5 Oceans Race competitor Sir Robin Knox Johnston is slowly closing in on Unai Basurk aboard Pakea. He is now just four miles off Basurko’s transom and if he retains his average speed of 10.48kts it will only be a matter of time before he takes fourth position.

Interestingly, however Knox-Johnston has little idea of his current position over his closest rival commenting in his latest log: “?I do not seem to be receiving the fleet positions properly so have no idea were the others are since yesterday.”

According to Knox-Johnston the wind is due to go north-west then west or south-west later today when the forecast big winds arrive but little weather information is making life rather difficult: “We are dodging all over the place on wind shifts because I can no longer download the detailed weather,” Knox-Johnston added.

At the front of the fleet race leader Bernard Stamm on Cheminées Poujoulat is reveling in the classic Southern Ocean conditions maintaining 17 knots of boatspeed and clocking up 400 miles a day. He is now 474 miles from second-placed Kojiro Shiraishi on Spirit of Yukoh and approximately 12 hours from crossing the International Date Line.
Reporting from the boat this morning Stamm said: “There is weather stability on front of us, and for me it is important to go fast in the two next days. For the moment, no problem on board but I have a little piece of wood on the chart table. Every time I work on the computer, I touch wood.”