Stamm versus Knox-Johnston - Chalk & Cheese racing! There could be no better example of the contrasting conditions and attitudes in the Velux 5 Oceans race than that of Bernard Stamm and Sir Robin Knox-Johnstone.
In a recent email, Sir Robin waxed lyrical: 'Lovely sailing day yesterday afternoon, boat going nicely, sunny, had my happy hour drink in the cockpit thinking of Pip and Sharpey's vineyard and sitting outside with a glass or wine and BBQ, putting the world to rights - very relaxing.'
While at the front of the fleet, Bernard Stamm has a comfortable lead and reported: For three days, Cheminees Poujoulat has been confronted with a chaotic sea and important variations of wind in force (18 to 40 knots) and in direction (50°).
'There are coarse grains with hail and snow, when that goes up, it is necessary to hurry to reduce, I do not have much respite.'
Stamm leads the five remaining competitors by over 1,600 miles.
To the winner goes the spoils and by arriving in Australia 30 days ahead of Sir Robin, Stamm was able to fully overhaul his boat and prepare for the second leg, expected to be the most difficult.
While Sir Robin arriving later had only a short time to work on his boat, which had been damaged on the first leg and suffered numerous electronic and equipment problems.
The result of this was that within 24 hours of the restart, Sir Robin was forced to pit stop to fix continuing problems with the auto pilot units and then lost essential weather information links, whilst Stamm, despite some niggling problems was able to build another huge lead - 2,797 miles ahead of Saga.
Unfortunately for Stamm and for the race organisers, the two competitors expected to be challenging him (Golding and Thomson) for the lead went out in the first leg, providing excellent dramatic media coverage at that point, but leaving a competitive void.
It seems that only the weather and further attrition can effect the result now. ISAF and Saving the Planet - How many trees will they plant?
The ISAF has its next Mid Year Meeting 2007 in Paris, France. The ISAF website describes it thus:
'Gaze rapturously at its breezy boulevards, impressive monuments, great works of art and magic lights. Savour its gourmet selection of cheese, chocolate, wine and seafood - As the old song says, Paris is at its best in springtime.'
Professor Julian Crane of Otago Univercity calculated that the recent 17,240 doctors attending the European Respiratory Society's annual congress in Munich had a - carbon cost - of 40 million kgs of carbon dioxide, requiring 784,000 trees to absorb it. This is without the trees destroyed to produce the conference publications.
Now, I am sure that the ISAF delegates will be busy calculating how many trees they need to plant before they jet off to Paris - not forgetting Athens in November.
Maybe I should get some shares in a tree nursery.