As the Velux 5 Oceans fleet continue to punch their way through the snarling Southern Ocean, the world’s most notorious body of water has been making life difficult for the skippers bombarding them with crashing swells and gale force winds.
For many sailors the thought of taking on the mighty Southern Ocean at all is enough to send shivers down their spines, let alone facing it singlehanded. But speaking to the Velux 5 Oceans team this morning British solo skipper Chris Stanmore-Major (CSM) explained that he revels in the heavy weather conditions currently battering the fleet around 700 nautical miles south of Australia.
Despite being hit by a 45-knot gale which knocked flat his Eco 60 yacht Spartan the 33-year-old said he actually looks forward to the high-speed, high risk sailing thrown at him by the Southern Ocean. Although it is his first outing around the world solo, CSM saw similar weather conditions when he skippered a yacht in the Clipper Round the World race last year.
'Getting knocked down was just one of those things,' CSM said. 'In one of these boats is not that unusual. It’s more dramatic to watch than it is actually onboard. There was no damage and I’m absolutely fine. I actually like the heavy weather, I’m not fazed by it. I don’t mind the motion of the boat either. I feel very respectful of what’s possible in the ocean but I am very conservative when it comes to heavy weather and I am looking forward to the next blow.
'It was only March of last year I was skippering a boat through a hurricane and we had 70 knots, so it’s sort of horses for courses. I’m very respectful of the weather and what it can do to the boat, but please, 45 knots? The Southern Ocean is going to have to try a bit harder than that!'
CSM was today more than 1,000 nautical miles behind race leader Brad Van Liew, with around 3,000 nautical miles left to sail to the finish line in Wellington. 'In this leg I am disappointed with my position after I made a mistake early on but I have been trying to push my boat harder and just do my thing,' he added. 'I do enjoy this kind of environment, it’s the reason I decided to do the race in the first place. I’m not going to hide it – I’m having fun.'
Ocean sprint two positions at 06h00 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: 2222.9/ 0 / 274.4 / 11.4
Derek Hatfield, Active House: 2550.2/ 327.3 / 230.3/ 9.6
Zbigniew Gutkowski, Operon Racing: 2568.2/ 345.3 / 232.8/ 9.7
Chris Stanmore-Major, Spartan: 3259.3/ 1036.4/ 238.8 / 9.9
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