Stanmore-Major Addresses Velux 5 Oceans Finish

The third leg of the Velux 5 Oceans race boasts the closest finish in solo racing history, with only 40 seconds separating the second and third place finishers. Zbigniew Gutkowski and Chris Stanmore-Major had been within eyesight of each other for much of the 3,500 nautical mile
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The third leg of the Velux 5 Oceans race boasts the closest finish in solo racing history, with only 40 seconds separating the second and third place finishers. Zbigniew Gutkowski and Chris Stanmore-Major had been within eyesight of each other for much of the 3,500 nautical mile leg, but it was within the last 20 nautical miles that the race became tight.

Stanmore-Major took the time to address the finish in a blog post on the Velux 5 Oceans website. He writes:

With approximately 20Nm to go the breeze finally veered and we could lay Punta with cracked sheets on a fine reach. I put my hand on Spartan's cabin top and whispered to her - 'it’s now or never girl'. I saw Gutek ease his mainsail and come down a few degrees and I tapped the autopilot down 5 and released the main a foot, the speedo picked up a few tenths but nothing worth writing home about. I then stepped forward to the Solent winch and cracked it off - the rig bounced and shook the hull as the sheet pressure of going upwind all morning was finally released. As soon as the sail's tell tales rotated down into the correct horizontal attitude, I could feel the hull lift and surge forward and I knew I could catch Operon. For 3500Nm of blue white Southern Ocean I have been listening and learning to sit Spartan in this exact groove- it is the setting that reels in the boats in this fleet like fish on a line. Now two hours out from the finish Gutek had placed himself in my sights and I was squeezing the trigger. 13, 13.5kts, 13.9, 14.0kts and now I can read the writing on Gutek's sails and now I can see what he is wearing.

The feeling of the deck trembling beneath my feet, the sun beating down on me and the sight of such a fantastic competitor getting closer and closer unable to respond was an inspiring moment in my sailing career- one I will treasure. But Gutek was having none of it and I could see him dashing around his deck preparing something-then just as my bow began to overlap his stern he unfurled his gennaker and Operon pulled away. I dropped a few more degrees to increase my speed and stay with him and dragged the Code 5 headsail from the side deck forward and threw it aloft faster than I have ever managed before. I sprinted to the cockpit and hauled on the sheet deploying the sail in a cloud of white dacron. I winched in like a man possessed and only five minutes after Operon began to move forward Spartan was back in pursuit and closing. We were only 10Nm from the coast now and I could see the clouds hanging over the land, in fifteen minutes I could see the land and crucially the lighthouse that marked the finish. Had I not been so tired from 40hrs close racing, had I perhaps had more to drink that blistering morning I might have taken what?- two minutes to go below and triple check the lay out of the finish. If I had I would perhaps have been 2nd rather than 3rd in the closest finish of solo sailing history- had I altered my course by only a few degrees at that point I would have easily laid the finish.

Instead I kept my eyes glued on Gutek. As a previous 470 and 49er champion I am happy to concede that in a close quarters situation he can out probably out maneuver me and I kept focused on keeping my boat between him and the line. And right there not that I knew it I lost the race.

For the full report, click here.

Related

BoatTalk-2048

VIDEO: Sailing Not just for Millionaires

Sailing and boating can come with a hefty price tag, but there are plenty of ways to get on the water without breaking the bank. In this episode of Boat Talk, SAIL's managing editor Lydia Mullan and Power & Motor Yacht's executive editor Charlie Levine share tips on getting out ...read more

Cornell-2048x

Elcano Challenge Resurrected

In late 2020, sailing legend Jimmy Cornell set off on his Elcano Challenge, a green-powered circumnavigation aboard the custom Outremer Aventura Zero. Unfortunately, shortly after setting out, the boat encountered major power-generation issues. "I took the decision to turn ...read more

F8V-BOOK-for-SAIL---1

Book Review: The Figure 8 Voyage

“What is the color of the ocean that rolls beneath Pacific trades? How does a wave curl and crash at 47 degrees south? Can an albatross remain awing in the worst of weathers?” Randall Reeves has always found images to be the most compelling part of the stories we tell about the ...read more

AC210117cb_23806

VIDEO: Capsize in the Prada Cup

American Magic's Patriot capsized during day three of the Prada Cup. If you haven't yet watched the catastrophe unfold with your own eyes, check out the above video or any number of others that are circulating on social media. It's truly a tip that has to be seen to be believed. ...read more

210115-AC36

Prada Cup: Brits Take First Two Races

Who saw that coming? After getting skunked in December, INEOS Team UK has swept the first two races in the Prada Cup elimination series of the 36th America’s Cup  Racing took place on racecourse “C,” sheltered between Auckland’s North Head and Bastion Point to take advantage of ...read more

ac-2048x

Hutchinson: 36th America’s Cup will be a Close On

On the eve of the Prada Cup challenger series, the official start of the 36th America’s Cup, New York Yacht Club American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson says it’s anyone’s game. "As we've seen in the last week, everyone's gotten faster," said Hutchinson said at the event’s ...read more

Episode1_Thumbnail4_00000_00000_00000_00000

Sailing Docuseries Released Online

Endless Media's Reaching Reality is the story of three friends, a 24-foot sailboat and 1,200 miles. With candor and humor, this series proves that you don't need to be an expert or a millionaire to cast off on the journey of a lifetime. Produced by Emmy-award winner Barry ...read more

01-LEAD-nder-sail-3

Prepping for a Transatlantic

Growing up on the coast of northern England, I dreamed about crossing oceans on my own boat. Like most of us, though, education, a family and a career took precedence, and before I knew it, we had mortgages, young children and endless work obligations. We also became landlocked, ...read more