Post Race Update

June 28th, 2011

Hello from Active House Spirit of Canada,

Active House Spirit of Canada has arrived safely back in Canada and sits quietly at the dock in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. It has been a busy time for the team since the finish of the VELUX 5 Oceans single-handed race came to an end in La Rochelle, France. The last leg was a fantastic climax to the race and securing a position on the podium with a third place overall was amazing. We have Active House and a lot of people to thank for supporting Spirit of Canada and believing in us as a team.

After the end of the race, we did a couple of small repairs to the Open 60 before Patianne delivered it back to Canada by herself. It was very strange indeed helping her out of the harbour, getting the sails up and setting her off for her first transatlantic in solo mode. She has arrived in Canada safely and is much more experienced for the 16 day crossing. I flew home to get some much needed rest and time with the family after a grueling nine month race. I figure it has taken at least three weeks to clear my head from the stresses of the race.

The remainder of 2011 will be hectic as I will be finishing the Spirit of Canada book about all three single handed races around the world. At the same time we are in the planning stages to build an “Active House” here in Canada. Along with the book writing and house building, I will be attending media events and conducting speaking engagements.

At this point, I am not sure what is next for the Open 60 Spirit of Canada; it will take about three months to unwind from the Velux 5 Oceans and organize future racing plans. In the mean time we are be conducting two training trips to Bermuda with crew just to keep the boat and myself active. There are a few spots left for crew members so if anyone wants to experience a full blown Open 60 in open ocean conditions, please let me know. There are also corporate opportunities for training & branding aboard the Open 60 and for keynote speaking engagements for this year and next.

Take care,


May 30th, 2011

Canadian skipper secures third position overall in solo race around the world

CANADIAN ocean racer Derek Hatfield has crossed the finish line of the final sprint of the VELUX 5 OCEANS singlehanded round the world yacht race in second place to secure a third place overall in his second successful solo circumnavigation of the globe.

The 58-year-old sailed his 60ft yacht Active House into La Rochelle, France, and across the ocean sprint five finish line at 0907 local time (0707 UTC) in fourth place, bringing this edition of the oldest and longest solo round the world race to a close.

From Mahone Bay, NS, former mountie Derek also finished on the podium of Class II in the 2003 edition of the race (then the Around Alone).

Derek completed the 3,600-mile final sprint from Charleston in South Carolina to La Rochelle in 14 days, 12 hours and 07 minutes.

Audio, images and footage will be made available later today.



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May 28th, 2011

American ocean racer wins final leg to complete clean sweep of solo round the world race

AMERICAN solo sailor 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. The 43-year-old sailed his 60ft yacht Le Pingouin into La Rochelle, France, and across the ocean sprint five finish line in first place at 2053 local time (1853UTC), making it a clean sweep of all of the legs.

Brad is a past winner of the VELUX 5 OCEANS, having won every leg in class two in the 2002/3 edition of the race. His victory this time round makes him the only person in the 29-year history of the VELUX 5 OCEANS (formerly the BOC Challenge and Around Alone) to make two clean sweeps of the race.

During ocean sprint three from Wellington in New Zealand to Punta del Este in Uruguay Brad made his third successful solo rounding of Cape Horn, the most southerly tip of South America, making him the only American ever to race solo round the famous landmark three times.

Brad completed the 3,600-mile final sprint from his hometown of Charleston in South Carolina to La Rochelle in 12 days, 23 hours and 52 minutes.

Pair just 50 miles apart in last few days of final sprint

May 25th, 2011

After 24 hours of mystery, VELUX 5 OCEANS rivals Derek Hatfield and Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski have emerged from stealth mode and have started the final dash to the finish line in La Rochelle.

The pair have been locked in a bitter duel for second place for the majority of the 30,000-mile solo round the world race since it began in La Rochelle last October. In an exciting twist both opted to enter stealth mode – which cloaks their positions from each other and the public for 24 hours – at 0000 UTC yesterday right as they entered the sprint five speed gate, each making their move for glory under the cover of invisibility.

When they appeared on the course again this morning it couldn’t have looked any different. Active House skipper Derek chose to sail fast and straight, and is now the most southerly boat on the race course. Onboard Operon Racing Gutek decided to split from Derek opting for a northerly position for the final few days of racing.

With both skippers tied on overall points, the outcome of the final sprint will decide which of the two skippers claims the second place on the podium behind outright leader Brad Van Liew. With a maximum of three bonus points on offer this leg for the quickest passage between longitudes 35° W and 20° W, the speed gate could prove the deciding factor in the overall podium positions.

“Now it’s going to be a real race to the finish,” Derek told the VELUX 5 OCEANS race team today. “We’re moving along really well. We’re all still in the speed gate and very close to one another. I think Gutek has a bit of an advantage now because of his angle to the wind but we will keep pushing hard and just see how it goes.

“I have been pushing harder on this leg but that is also tempered by the fear of breaking the boat at this last stage. We only have three days left now so I do feel I can push a little harder but you always temper that aggression with not wanting to break anything. We just have to get there now and get a good result. The dice have been cast and we just have to see how it all plays out.”

Despite notching up speeds of more than 16 knots in the past few hours Gutek is also wary of pushing his Eco 60 over the limit in the final stage of the race.

“The low pressure we had for the last few days left really big waves, monsters like in the Southern Ocean,” he said. “I haven’t been pushing so hard. I managed to escape from Derek, although our distance to the finish line is similar now. It all depends on the winds we get now.”

After ten days of racing, just 120 miles separate the entire fleet, with around 800 miles left to sail to the finish line. Brad’s ETA into La Rochelle is currently early afternoon on Friday, May 27.
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: 761.5 / 0/ 321.3 / 13.4
Zbigniew Gutkowski, Operon Racing: 838.6 / 77.2/ 343.7 / 14.3
Chris Stanmore-Major, Spartan: 847.6 / 86.1 / 347.1 / 14.5
Derek Hatfield, Active House: 885.9 / 124.4 / 288.5 / 12

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