Polish ocean racer expected to reach Charleston by Thursday
POLISH ocean racer Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski has just over 500 nautical miles to sail to the finish of sprint four of the VELUX 5 OCEANS.
The 36-year-old Polish solo skipper was just 514 nautical miles from the finish line in Charleston, USA, at the 1800 UTC position report and back in good winds after a frustrating few days of slow sailing up the coast of North America.
His good progress has come despite yet more damage to Operon Racing – this time the Eco 60’s bowsprit has parted completely from the bow of the boat. It has not hindered Gutek too much however due to the angle of his course towards Charleston not requiring a spinnaker.
“Yesterday morning I noticed a crack in my bowsprit, but it all looked very stable so I continued my journey. Due to a change of wind direction I had to take down the gennaker and hoist up the Solent. Next I started to hear a weird sound. My first thought was that I had caught some fishing nets on my keel but it turned out to be my bowsprit.
“It is broken now just after the pulpit. It fell down to the water but was held on bobstay so I pulled it in and it is now safely stored. The good thing is that it broke now not in the next leg.”
After setting sail with the rest of the VELUX 5 OCEANS fleet from Punta del Este on March 27, Gutek was forced to stop in Fortaleza, Brazil, after a number of breakages onboard Operon Racing as well as suffering from broken ribs. He was just eight miles across the Equator when he was forced to turn back to Fortaleza. He spent 11 days in port during which he carried out repairs to Operon Racing and allowed his broken ribs to heal.
Gutek was today making around 11 knots towards Charleston and is expected to join the VELUX 5 OCEANS fleet by Thursday if he continues at his current speed.
Positions at 1800 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: Finished 21.04.11 in 25 days 9 hours and 45 minutes
Zbigniew Gutkowski, Operon Racing: 514.1/0 /254.5 /10.6
MEDIA NOTES TO EDITORS
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NOTES TO EDITORS
VELUX 5 OCEANS – The Ultimate Solo Challenge
The VELUX 5 OCEANS is the Ultimate Solo Challenge, the ultimate human endeavour. More than 500 people have been into space – less than 180 have sailed round the world solo. The VELUX 5 OCEANS is a series of five high-pressure ocean sprints within a marathon 30,000-nautical mile circumnavigation. The race, run every four years since 1982, has a rich heritage which has given rise to some of the world’s best sailors. The VELUX 5 OCEANS is not only the longest round the world yacht race but at nearly 30 years old is also the longest running. Always at the forefront of ocean racing innovation, the 2010/11 VELUX 5 OCEANS will see the premiere of the Eco 60 class of yachts, pushing a message of sustainability, accessibility and affordability.
About the VELUX Group
The VELUX Group holds the title sponsorship of VELUX 5 OCEANS for the second time. The spirit, values and nature of the race and its skippers are similar to those of the VELUX Group. As a manufacturer of roof windows, the VELUX Group employs creativity and an innovative approach to the development of new products and business strategies. In its mission to create better living environments with daylight and fresh air through the roof the Group has earned the reputation of being one of the strongest brands in the global building materials sector. The VELUX Group has manufacturing companies in 11 countries and sales companies in just under 40 countries, it has about 10,000 employees and is owned by VKR Holding A/S, a limited company wholly owned by foundations and family.