Van Liew into the lead

Velux 5 Oceans skippers enjoy a benign Bay of Biscay

Monday October 18th 2010, Author: Velux 5 Oceans, Location: none selected

After a perfect start in ideal weather conditions yesterday, the five Velux 5 Oceans skippers have been settling into life alone at sea.

After 24 hours of racing, American skipper Brad Van Liew is leading the fleet as they make their way across the Bay of Biscay. Despite its reputation, the Bay of Biscay is actually being kind to the sailors. After leaving La Rochelle in a fresh breeze the sailors have now hit light winds of around six knots as a area of high pressure moves in.

“Getting out of La Rochelle and the Bay of Biscay is one of the first hurdles,” said Canadian skipper Derek Hatfield prior to the race start. “On my last experience during the Vendée Globe we had 50 knots on the first night going upwind. Nine boats came back, four dismasted. The next week is going to be pivotal on the first leg. From here to Cape Finisterre it’s going to be fine but after that it’s wide open as to what’s going to happen.”

Hampered by the light winds, the fleet are not expected to reach Cape Finisterre in the north west corner of Spain until tomorrow. It’s good news for Belgian sailor Christophe Bullens, who will return to La Rochelle following a 48-hour qualification passage onboard his new yacht Five Oceans of Smiles too.

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