Second leg win for van Liew

American skipper first into Wellington on the Velux 5 Oceans

Sunday January 16th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: New Zealand

American solo sailor Brad van Liew today made it two wins in a row when he sailed into Wellington, New Zealand, to claim victory in leg two of the Velux 5 Oceans. For the 42-year-old from Charleston, South Carolina, it brought to an end a month-long slog through the Southern Ocean from Cape Town in South Africa alone on his Eco 60 Le Pingouin.

During the leg, the second of five that make up the Velux 5 Oceans, Le Pingouin sailed 7,682 nautical miles in a time of 30 days, nine hours and 49 minutes at an average speed of 10.53 knots. His win earns him the maximum 12 points and consolidates his position at the top of the Velux 5 Oceans leaderboard.

With 40-knot winds whipping through Wellington Harbour, van Liew blasted across the finish line at 7.49am local time (6.49pm GMT) as the sun rose over the city. Cheers went up from the waiting crowds as, with the help of his shore crew, the Charleston-based skipper docked alongside Queens Wharf in the heart of the city. First in line to welcome the victorious skipper were his wife Meaghan and children Tate, 8, and Wyatt, 6.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” van Liew said as he stepped ashore. “It’s really good to be here. I’ve now done five Southern Ocean legs and this one was by far the hardest. The weather we experienced was different to any other I have ever seen down there. The leg started with a delay and then took a long longer than anyone expected – it’s been an unbelievable challenge. The hardest part was missing Christmas with my kids and the best part is without a doubt arriving in Wellington.”

While van Liew chose the more conventional route to Wellington through Tasman and up the west coast of New Zealand's south island, Polish skipper Zbigniew ‘Gutek’ Gutkowski is due to arrive in Wellington tomorrow in second place having opted to take the east coast in more favourable breeze. Gutkowski will be followed by Derek Hatfield.

“This was a really close leg,” van Liew added. “What was really neat from a competition point of view was that it was so close. For a small fleet it’s great to have such competitive racing. The four of us really have become fierce competitors. I’m happy to have a chunk of a lead because Gutek and the others are getting determined!”

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