Around Alone podium complete
“Last 24 hours, very busy, no eat, no sleep!” Indeed, the weather was very squally with thunder and lightning, and the Finot 40 sailed into view just after a huge downpour had drifted off to sea. His boat looked spotless and Kojiro said there was not much work to do. “Just a leak in the keel area to fix,” he smiled.
This was the first time Kojiro and Spirit of yukoh have finished on the podium and the pleasure was obvious on the skipper’s face. His boat has performed impressively in the Southern Ocean, tailing Tim Kent on the bigger Open 50 Everest Horizontal most of the way round.
Koji may not speak much English, but he is one of those rare individuals who's rich body language tells a thousand stories. The passage from Tauranga, New Zealand had been relatively trouble-free for the Japanese skipper in comparison to the two 40 footers behind him, which bore the brunt of the worst conditions around Cape Horn. “The Southern Ocean was very good to me this time. Big high pressure made the sailing really nice. No storms. The last time I rounded Cape Horn I was 90 miles to the south and of course never saw a thing. This time it was very nice to see.”
Kojiro said that the hardest part of the race to date was the second half of the leg from Cape Horn to Salvador. “There were a lot of headwinds and squalls making the sailing very difficult.” However, when asked about how he coped with the heat he replied with a laugh: “Panama Canal much hotter!” Kojiro was welcomed by Dayse on the CENAB pontoon and did a great job of spraying the best part of a magnum of Champagne Mumm over the entire assembled crowd.
With the arrival of Spirit of yukoh only Alan Paris remains sailing. He is still over 700 miles from the finish and reported to have had an action packed day, negotiating squalls, lightning and two near misses with freighters in low visibility. “Since that morning excitement, it has been one squall after another for 36 hours, non stop, no breaks. Fifty degree wind shifts and winds from 5 - 28 knots. The latest and what looks like the clearing front has had fork lightening that was all around the boat. Nothing to frazzle your hair kind of lightening, as has happened before, but too close for comfort on a boat that freely admits to relying on its electronic toys!”
Then of course there is Derek Hatfield and Spirit of Canada still in Ushuaia. This next week will be a big one, as the large shipment of parts arrives tomorrow, along with an army of riggers, sailmakers and electronics experts, to be followed by the delivery of the new mast. Hatfield has confirmed that the hydraulic ram has been completely reinstalled and tested. “This is a huge relief as I thought that I may have done some damage to the keel bearings and keel box. There is no sign of any damage in the entire keel system.” The lifelines and stanchions are being refitted today.
POSITIONS AT 1400GMT 23rd MARCH 2003
Leg 4 Provisional Results
1 Solidaires – 10pts
2 Bobst Group-Armor Lux - 9pts
3 Tiscali – 8pts
4 Pindar – 7pts
5 Ocean Planet – 6pts
Boat Lat Lon AvgBsp AvgHeading DTF
1 Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America – 10pts
2 Everest Horizontal – 9pts
3 Spirit of yukoh 13 04.340 S, 38 32.860 W, 43.38 nm, 5.42 kt, 342 °T, 6.36 nm
4 BTC Velocity 25 18.540 S, 36 32.050 W, 51.56 nm, 6.45 kt, 55 °T, 748.75 nm
5 Spirit of Canada 54 49.160 S, 68 14.210 W, 0.00 nm, 0.00 kt, 0 °T, 2907.09 nm