Please select your home edition
Edition
Auckland On Water Boat Show

Velux 5 Oceans skipper Brad Van Liew battles storm in North Atlantic

by Velux 5 Oceans on 25 May 2011
Le Pingouin - Velux 5 Oceans 2010-11 Ainhoa Sanchez/Velux 5 Oceans
Velux 5 Oceans 2010-11 final sprint end is in sight for skipper Brad Van Liew as he predicts a Friday finish for the ultimate solo challenge.

The challenge is far from over yet for the American ocean racer who has spent the last 24 hours battling a fierce North Atlantic storm.

The 43-year-old is not only at the top of the leaderboard after a clean sweep of the previous four ocean sprints but has also led the charge across the North Atlantic from his hometown of Charleston in South Carolina to La Rochelle in France, the place the race started from more than eight months ago.

At yesterday’s 1800 UTC position report – the last schedule where all four boats were polled – Brad had a lead of just over 60 miles on his race rivals. Choosing to seek out stronger winds to up his speeds towards La Rochelle Brad sailed his Eco 60 Le Pingouin close to the eye of a depression. He was rewarded with boat speeds hitting more than 25 knots – but also paid the price for the move encountering howling 47-knot winds and crashing seas.

'This low pressure area I’m in is quite a barn-burner,' Brad reported this morning. 'I’ve had up to 47 knots this morning with lots of squalls. The seas have got really gnarly too – not huge but really short and steep. Right now I’m just trying to take care of the boat – I’ve got three reefs in the main and no jib at all. I wanted to stay north to get the stronger breeze but it has got pretty serious.

'I should probably have a storm job up but I don’t think I’m going to have these winds for too much longer, plus I’m sailing pretty deep downwind. Everything is under control and I have made some really good miles over the last few position reports. I’m just trying to keep my promise to Le Pingouin to push hard and do well but not break anything and get her there in one piece.'

With the storm set to ease and the wind direction due to back in the next 12 hours, Brad only has to hang on a little while longer to escape what will probably be his last big storm of the Velux 5 Oceans. More than 30,000 miles of gruelling ocean racing has taken its toll, and the American has his sights firmly set on stepping onto terra firma in La Rochelle as quickly as possible.

'This really is the last big weather moment of this race for me and LP,' Brad said. 'The wind is going to start backing soon and I will gybe in about six hours and then start playing northerlies all the way to La Rochelle. At the moment I’m going to be in La Rochelle by midday on the 27th May in a nice mellow north-north easterly breeze. That’s the plan at the moment. I’m ready for a break, I’m pretty burnt out. This race has been a fantastic event and the boat has been really special but now I’m tired!'

Despite entering the speed gate yesterday Brad insisted his main priority is keeping his boat in one piece. 'The speed gate for me doesn’t matter too much, there is no reason for me to focus on it now,' he added. 'I’m not going to push so hard that I risk doing damage to my boat.'

The speed gate is however a major importance to duelling skippers Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkoswki and Derek Hatfield, both currently in 24-hour stealth mode. Locked in battle and tied on points for second place, both will reappear on the racetrack at tonight’s 0000 UTC position report.

Positions at 1200 UTC:
Skipper / distance to finish (nm) / distance to leader (nm) / distance covered in last 24 hours (nm) / average speed in last 24 hours (kts)
Brad Van Liew, Le Pingouin: 1082.8 / 0 / 369.1 / 15.4
Zbigniew Gutkowski, Operon Racing: Stealth Mode
Derek Hatfield, Active House: Stealth Mode
Chris Stanmore-Major, Spartan: 1194.6 / 111.8 / 331.7 / Velux 5 Oceans website
InSunSport - NZT Clewring - GenericBarz Optics - Floaters

Related Articles

Velux 5 Oceans 2014-15 welcomes SolOceans One Design class
Velux 5 Oceans 2014-15 ninth edition will welcome the SolOceans One Design Class alongside the Eco 60 Class Velux 5 Oceans 2014-15 ninth edition will welcome the SolOceans One Design Class alongside the Eco 60 Class. It will allow sailors, both men and women, to race solo around the world on a level playing field. Thanks to its reasonable and controlled budgets, a good number of skippers and sponsors of all nationalities will therefore be able to take each other on using the same weapons.
Posted on 8 Jun 2011
Velux 5 Oceans next edition set for autumn 2014
Velux 5 Oceans rich heritage is set to continue with the next edition of the race in autumn 2014. Velux 5 Oceans rich heritage is set to continue after it was announced the ninth edition of the original solo round the world yacht race will start in autumn 2014
Posted on 3 Jun 2011
Velux 5 Oceans 2010-11 concludes
Velux 5 Oceans was an epic battle full of thrills and spills, highs and lows, drama and action Velux 5 Oceans 2010-11 was an epic battle full of thrills and spills, highs and lows, drama and action – but like all good things it must come to an end.
Posted on 1 Jun 2011
Velux 5 Oceans 2010-11 skipper Derek Hatfield takes third place
Velux 5 Oceans Canadian skipper Derek Hatfield secures an overall third place in the race Velux 5 Oceans Canadian skipper Derek Hatfield secures an overall third place in the race, arriving into La Rochelle, France today. His arrival completes the 2010-11 edition of solo round the world race
Posted on 30 May 2011
Velux 5 Oceans skipper Gutek second Overall
Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski has finished the Velux 5 Oceans race and takes second place overall. Skipper Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski has finished the race at at 1507 local time (1307 UTC) earning him second place overall in the Velux 5 Oceans.
Posted on 29 May 2011
Velux 5 Oceans Chris Stanmore-Major second in sprint five
Velux 5 Oceans British ocean racer Chris Stanmore-Major 'CSM' has crossed the finish line of the final sprint Velux 5 Oceans British ocean racer Chris Stanmore-Major 'CSM' has crossed the finish line of the final sprint. The British skipper finishes in second place to secure at least fourth place overall in his first solo circumnavigation of the globe and becomes only the 182nd person to race solo around the world
Posted on 28 May 2011
Velux 5 Oceans - Brad Van Liew takes the title
Brad Van Liew has now sailed into the record books by winning every leg of the Velux 5 Oceans race for the second time! Brad Van Liew is the American skipper who has now sailed into the record books by winning every leg of the Velux 5 Oceans race for the second time!
Posted on 28 May 2011
Velux 5 Oceans overall victory to Brad Van Liew
Brad Van Liew has crossed the finish line of the final sprint of the Velux 5 Oceans solo round the world yacht race Brad Van Liew has crossed the finish line of the final sprint of the Velux 5 Oceans solo round the world yacht race to secure overall victory.
Posted on 28 May 2011
Velux 5 Oceans fleet charges towards La Rochelle finish line
Velux 5 Oceans race fleet is charging towards the La Rochelle finish line to complete their solo circumnavigations Velux 5 Oceans race fleet is charging towards the La Rochelle finish line to complete their solo circumnavigations and the first arrival of the race, that started in the historic French port back in October 2010, is expected today (Friday 27th May).
Posted on 27 May 2011
Velux 5 Oceans - Gutek battling keel problems
Velux 5 Oceans skipper Zbigniew Gutkowski saw drama overnight onboard Operon Racing when one of the keel rams broke. Velux 5 Oceans skipper Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski saw drama overnight onboard Operon Racing when one of the keel rams broke.
Posted on 27 May 2011