Grant Dalton fends off school of whales in Southern Ocean on Leg 2 of Velux 5-Oceans Race 22/1/07

One of the biggest concerns that Velex 5 Ocean Race competitor Graham Dalton faces right now – apart from the Southern Ocean ice – is Whales.

Lying in third place, 681 miles behind the leader Bernard Stamm at a position of 46° 43.20 S, 143° 00.32 E, Dalton is currently trying to fend off a school of whales who’ve decided his Open 60 A Southern Man-AGD is perfect material for a game.

Dalton who is not quite so enthusiastic about the situation commented: “I was on deck an hour ago charging along at 16 knots when I spied two whales directly in my path about 70 metres ahead. No time to get to the wheels and turn off the auto-pilots so I banged on the cabin top and yelled to try and alert them. I braced myself for the crash but either the warning I gave them or the fact that they saw us averted something that could have been ugly.

“I am going to have a word with Koji to see if he can have a word with his Japanese mates to clear a path though the Southern Ocean whales for me. Only for scientific purposes you understand,” added Dalton, tongue firmly wedged in his cheek. The usually eloquent Koji Shiraishi, some 300 miles ahead of Dalton, had just this to say: “I am OK.” Perhaps he’s still suffering from his customary seasickness and wanting to avoid typing at the keyboard any more than is necessary?

Stamm continues to forge ahead, despite his keel entanglement problems last week, while Robin Knox-Johnston brings up the rear, seeking to chase down Unai Basurko and the rest of the fleet after his return to Fremantle last week.