Please select your home edition
Edition
T Clew Ring New Generic

Velux 5 Oceans skipper Gutek second Overall

by Velux 5 Oceans on 29 May 2011
Gutek secures his 2nd place overall, on the final leg of the Velux 5 Oceans, Ocean Sprint 5,arriving into La Rochelle, France today. Ainhoa Sanchez/Velux 5 Oceans
Velux 5 Oceans Polish skipper Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski finished the race at at 1507 local time (1307 UTC) earning him second place overall. The Operon skipper has now made it into the record books as the very first Polish skipper to race single-handed around the world.

Gutkowski ended up taking the third place spot in ocean sprint five from Charleston to La Rochelle, arriving only four hours behind second placed Chris Stanmore-Major. He ended up accumulating just enough points to beat his nearest rival Derek Hatfield.

'I still can’t believe it’s real,' Gutek said as he stepped onto the dock. 'I am tired, but if I had to make my decision again, I would go for it again. I am very happy – I just sailed round the world on my own! I knew my boat would not be the fastest one in the fleet but I was surprised at how well she could do.'

The 36-year-old displayed incredible skill and seamanship throughout the race, overcoming a catalogue of disasters including two serious injuries and major boat damage. During the first leg from La Rochelle to Cape Town, Gutek suffered a nasty cut to his head after being hit by the wind generator on the stern of Operon Racing and was forced to perform surgery on the wound.

He was to take another blow to the body during ocean sprint four when he fell from the cockpit of Operon Racing breaking two ribs. The injury required him to stop in Fortaleza for ten days to recover.

Although it was Gutek’s first circumnavigation, for his 20-year-old yacht Operon Racing it was the third time completing a successful trip around the world having been sailed to glory by Alain Gautier in the 1992 Vendée Globe as Bagages Superior and to fourth place in the 1996 Vendée as Eric Dumont’s Café Legal.

Operon Racing’s age took its toll on Gutek’s campaign, with breakages hindering his attempt to snatch the top spot from overall winner Brad Van Liew.

During the first leg Gutek had to climb the mast three times to replace broken halyards, while on leg two he spent three weeks battling autopilot problems which starved him of rest.

Rounding Cape Horn Operon Racing developed keel problems after a composite part surrounding the keel pins shattered. Despite the setbacks Gutek held it together to beat race rival CSM into Punta del Este by just 40 seconds.
As well as dealing with broken ribs during ocean sprint four, Gutek also had to contend with a broken alternator as well as a bowsprit that snapped twice during the leg.

Keel problems resurfaced during the final 300 miles of the final sprint when one of the rams which operate the canting keel broke after the fleet was pummeled by heavy seas. Gutek used his emergency tillers plus a heavy duty strap to create a temporary fix and continued to push right until the end of the race.

Born in Gdansk, Poland, the father of one Gutek comes from a national dingy-racing background and has also completed one circumnavigation of the world in a crewed boat in 'The Race' in 2000. During ocean sprint five Gutek sailed 3,894 miles from Charleston in South Carolina to La Rochelle in 13 days, 18 hours and seven minutes at an average speed of 11.8 knots.

Positions at 1200 UTC

Skipper / distance to finish (nm) / distance to next boat (nm) / distance covered in last 24 hours (nm) / average speed in last 24 hours (kts)

Brad Van Liew, Le Pingouin: finished 27.05.11
Chris Stanmore-Major, Spartan: finished 28.05.11 - 0906 UTC
Zbigniew Gutkowski, Operon Racing: finished 28.05.11 – 1307 UTC
Derek Hatfield, Active House: 124.6 / NA / 188.7 / 7.9

Related Articles

Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Volvo Ocean Race appoints stadium racing pioneer as new CEO
Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Today his appointment has been confirmed.
Posted on 31 Mar
Large spectator fleet heading north for boat watching season
I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase, but it is insanely apt and hilarious all at the same time, however. I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase. It is insanely apt and hilarious, all at the same time, however. Well then, boat watching season is definitely upon us once more. The whales will soon be gathering again off the coast of Queensland to observe all manner of racing and cruising craft as they head North for a Winter in the sun.
Posted on 29 Mar
North Technology - Southern SparsKilwell - 1Bakewell-White Yacht Design