Poland into second

Gutkowski edges ahead in the Velux 5 Oceans

Thursday February 10th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Five days into the leg from Wellington, New Zealand, to Punta del Este in Uruguay, Poland's Zbigniew Gutkowski and his Operon Racing have reclaimed second place in the Velux 5 Oceans after it was taken from him by race rival Derek Hatfield.

After hitting a submerged tree earlier in the week Gutkowski lost miles on the competition but over the past few days has been gradually clawing them back until he has regained second place.

Then, in the six hours between 1800 and 0000 GMT yesterday, Hatfield’s Active House snuck past, just two miles separating the duelling pair. By 0600 this morning the gap had expanded to six nautical miles but with Operon Racing hitting the quicker speeds than his race rival – an average of 7.9 knots in the last 24 hours and 12.5 knots in the 60 minutes before the 1200 GMT polling – the Pole now 20 miles ahead of the Canadian.

It is not the first time the pair have locked horns on the water. During leg two to Wellington they traded places several times during their month at sea which ended with Gutkowski beating Hatfield into port by less than 36 hours.

Meanwhile race leader Brad Van Liew on Le Pingouin is ahead of Operon Racing by 67 miles as the fleet head deeper into the Southern Ocean en route to Cape Horn. They are almost at the latitude 50ºS, parallel with the first of leg three’s safety gates which lies between longitudes 150 and 140ºW.

Position at 1200 GMT:
Skipper / distance to finish (nm) / distance to leader (nm) / distance covered in last 24 hours (nm) / average speed in last 24 hours (kts)

1. Brad Van Liew, Le Pingouin: 4,720.9/ 0 / 215.9 / 9
2. Zbigniew Gutkowski, Operon Racing: 4,787.7 / 66.8 / 190 / 7.9
3. Derek Hatfield, Active House: 4,806.7 / 85.8 / 172.4 / 7.2
4. Chris Stanmore-Major, Spartan: 4,905.4 / 184.5 / 165 / 6.9

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