Velux 5 Oceans - The stage is set for a thrilling finale to the Velux 5 Oceans solo round the world yacht race after Canadian ocean racer Derek Hatfield claimed second place in the penultimate sprint today.
Derek Hatfield onboard his yacht Activehouse finishing Ocean Sprint 4, from Punta del Este Uruguay to Charleston, USA in second place. - Ainhoa Sanchez/Velux 5 Oceans
The result, Derek’s first second-place finish of the event, means he will start the fifth and final leg of the epic 30,000-mile race tied on points with his race rival Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski, giving him a shot at second place overall.
Breakages onboard Gutek’s yacht Operon Racing forced him to pull into the Brazilian port of Fortaleza to make repairs, all but cementing fourth position for the Pole.
'After the disaster of ocean sprint three when I expected to finish second and ended up fourth I am so pleased to have got this result,' an exhausted but jubilant Derek said as he stepped off Active House for the first time in more than three weeks.
'The Velux 5 Oceans is a long race so for the first three legs I was concerned with looking after the boat but for sprint four I knew I wanted to step it up. I’m really looking forward to the final sprint now.
I wish Gutek well and hope he gets to Charleston in fine shape and ready to rumble. Chris is also really ramping it up. The last leg is going to be a really great finale to the race.'
Derek steered his 60ft yacht Active House into Charleston, USA, and across the finish line at 0736 EST (1136 UTC) just over 15 hours behind ocean sprint four winner and Charleston resident Brad Van Liew, who sailed into his home port yesterday evening.
Throughout the sprint the 58-year-old veteran solo sailor piled the pressure on Brad and in the final few days of the sprint less than 100 miles separated the pair.
Shortly after crossing the finish line in Charleston Harbor Derek was reunited with his fiancé Patianne who helped bring Active House alongside at the city’s Seabreeze Marina. Waiting for him there were his children Sarah, six, and Ben, two, as well as his extended family and a host of wellwishers.
Skipper Derek Hatfield is greeted by his wife Patianne as he celebrates finishing in second place in Ocean Sprint 4. - Ainhoa Sanchez/Velux 5 Oceans Click Here to view large photo
During ocean sprint four Derek sailed Active House just shy of 6,000 nautical miles at an average speed of 10.5 knots. He completed the leg in 23 days, 19 hours and 36 minutes.
Third-placed British skipper Chris Stanmore-Major was just 233 miles from the finish line at the 1200 UTC position report and is expected in Charleston in less than 24 hours. Gutek is also expected to restart ocean sprint four tomorrow leaving Fortaleza bound for Charleston.
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 19.04.11 in 23 days 4 hours and 58 minutes
Derek Hatfield, Active House: Finished 20.04.11 in 23 days 19 hours and 36 minutes
Chris Stanmore-Major, Spartan: 233.2 / 0 / 141.8 / 5.9
Zbigniew Gutkowski, Operon Racing: 3205 / 2971.8 / 0 / 0
Velux 5 Oceans
Derek Hatfield with his daughter Sarah (6) and son Ben (2) celebrates finishing in second place.
Derek Hatfield is Canada’s most experienced offshore solo yachtsman with a podium finish in 2003 in the VELUX 5 Oceans (formerly called Around Alone), he also competed in the 2008 Vendee Globe and has over 90,000 miles of offshore experience. Derek, from Aurora, Ontar - Ainhoa Sanchez/Velux 5 Oceans Click Here to view large photo