Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez

Velux 5 Oceans' third arrival

Derek Hatfield and Active House reach Cape Town

Saturday November 20th 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: South Africa

Canadian solo sailor Derek Hatfield today sailed into Cape Town to take the third podium position on leg one of the Velux 5 Oceans. Hatfield’s arrival into South Africa ends 33 days at sea for the 57-year-old, the oldest skipper in the race.

Hatfied, who won class three of the 2002/3 Around Alone (the predecessor to the Velux 5 Oceans) crossed the finish line at 14.37 local time in stormy 25 knot northwesterly winds and rough seas. During the leg, Hatfield sailed 7,932 nautical miles at an average speed of 9.74 knots in an elapsed time of 33 days, 22 hours and 37 minutes.

After crossing the finish line, Hatfield was reunited with his wife Patianne Verburgh, who stepped on board the Canadian Eco 60 Active House to help bring the boat alongside the dock in front of waiting crowds at the North Wharf. Leg winner Brad Van Liew and second placed Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski joined Hatfield to celebrate his arrival. Van Liew arrived in Cape Town six days ahead of Hatfield last Sunday, while Gutkowski arrived on Wednesday.

“It’s fantastic to be here,” Hatfield said as he stepped onto dry land for the first time in over a month. “All those hard times of the last month are going to disappear pretty quickly now! It’s been a good leg though, not my best ever but I am very happy with third. The first two weeks of the race I found very difficult. I really missed the children and I had a hard time getting motivated. I was still getting to know the boat but I think I know her pretty well now and I have some ideas about how to go quicker on the next leg.”

Problems with his autopilot meant Hatfield could never drop his guard at sea, which made it difficult for him to get much-needed rest. Amazingly he did not sleep inside his boat once during ocean sprint one - any sleep he could get was on deck just in case something went wrong with the boat’s steering.

Hatfield also had to sail hard to defend his position against constant attack from British skipper Chris Stanmore-Major, who at one point was just 100 nautical miles behind in fourth place. Stanmore-Major is expected to arrive in Cape Town on Monday.

For third place Derek is awarded nine points and takes home €12,000 in prize money.


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