Short of an act of God, the race for first place is all but over

With the leader of the Velux 5 Oceans, Bernard Stamm, now within 615 miles of the finish of leg 2, and with second place Kojiri Shiraishi a further 2,800 miles south, this is no longer a race but an endurance test.

Bernard Stamm, on board his Open 60 Cheminees Poujoulat, averaging 16.3 knots for a six-hour period earlier today, is anticipated to arrive in Norfolk, Virginia, on Sunday morning.

Meanwhile Shiraishi, despite maintaining steady speeds of around 13 knots northwards has still to cross the equator. Significantly though, his Finot-Conq designed Open 60, Spirit of Yukoh, is the least technically advanced of all the competitors, relying on water ballast only – a disadvantage compared to his competitors’ swing keels.

Unfortunately Sir Robin is back in last place having climbed to third ahead of Unai Basurko in his Open 60, Pakea, and New Zealander Graham Dalton on 15 February. Just two days later, Knox-Johnston took the decision to pull into Ushuaia immediately after rounding Cape Horn, to undertake essential repairs including fixing his satellite weather systems and his mainsail head car. Not forgetting the essentials he also put ‘getting a haircut’ on his ‘to-do’ list.

Fourth-placed New Zealander Graham Dalton, on his Open 50 A Southern Man – AGD also decided to effect repairs to his mainsail and pulled in to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands. Despite suffering two broken fingers, he rejoined the race after the mandatory 48-hour time penalty and has kept pace and now overtaken Knox-Johnston again.

Basurko is now trailing Shiraishi in third and is keeping a close eye on the two behind him as he sails up the coast of Brazil. Described as ‘The Basque Country Hero’, Basurko has summed up the tactical challenge of the race as being ‘like a chess game.’

Knox-Johnston and Dalton are reported to be just 45 miles apart and are struggling for wind 400 miles behind Basurko.

There’s still a long way to go for the back three. Keep up with the latest: