Leg One to Stamm

Swiss Open 60 sailor Bernard Stamm has taken the first leg of Around Alone

Thursday September 26th 2002, Author: Mary Ambler, Location: United Kingdom
Swiss sailor Bernard Stamm (above) has won leg 1 of the Around Alone. Sailing his Pierre Rolland designed Open 60 Bobst Group - Armor Lux, Stamm crossed the finish line off the Berry Head Hotel in Torbay harbour at 15:33:38 local time (14:33:38 UTC).

Throwing his arms into the air and smiling broadly Stamm looked tired but jubilant as he waved at the crowds assembled on the docks to welcome him in. Stamm clocks up 10 points as the Class 1 winner for Leg 1 - now that this race is scored on points. Starting from New York harbour at 16:00 hrs GMT on 15 September and sailing 2,930 miles his elapsed time is 10 days 22 hours 33 minutes 38 seconds.

It has been two bites at the cherry for Stamm, who earlier this morning also established a new solo monohull transatlantic record when he passed Lizard Point off the southwest coast of England at 08:42:22 local time. His official time for the crossing from Ambrose Point to Lizard Point has been ratified by the World Speed Sailing Record Council as 10 days, 11 hours, 57 minutes and 19 seconds. This time will become a benchmark record for all future solo west to east Atlantic monohull crossings. This was still a fast crossing for a singlehander compared to the crewed transatlantic record that he broke last year on the same boat, which was just 38 hours less at 8 days, 20 hours and 55 minutes.

"I am very excited to hold a new record and to win this first leg of the Around Alone race. My team and I have been preparing the boat for the last year and the hard work has paid off," he said. Stamm must be especially happy to step off the boat in Torbay after losing all his power from the on board electrics two days ago, forcing him to hand steer for the remainder of the trip. "I am very tired from steering my boat by hand and looking forward to getting some rest, but now I am too excited to sleep. Maybe later."

Second place finisher is set to be Frenchman Thierry Dubois on Solidaires, who is due to arrive at around mid-night tonight. Thierry was disappointed not to have been able to close the gap on his friend Bernard after encountering light winds last night, and so was still 109 miles behind when Bernard finished. As Around Alone is won on points Thierry nevertheless is happy to be taking the second spot on the podium. Who knows which boat in Class 1 will end up on in third as it is a four boat race between Tiscali, Garnier, Hexagon and Pindar - more on this drama later, but these boats will be arriving in Torbay over this weekend.

Watch the finishes in Torbay

The finish line for the yachts is off the Berry Head Hotel in Brixham. The boats will cross the line and then be towed into the pontoons at the Brixham Yacht Club. From there the skipper will be escorted to the public platform in the Race Village at the Brixham Yacht Club to hold interviews and be welcomed by the Torbay community.

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