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Ocean Planet in the Around Alone – Update
Sunday, April 13, 2003
Salvador, Brazil


Hi all,

Leg 5 of the Around Alone got underway this afternoon from Salvador, Brazil. After a long and restful stopover, the nine skippers finally took to the water and set sail for Newport, Rhode Island 4,000 miles away. The weather was warm and muggy with a 15-knot easterly wind blowing. Slightly overcast skies kept the temperature from being scorching hot. Nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of the large spectator fleet that turned out to send the sailors on their way and they were treated to a spectacular sight. The only boat missing from the line-up was Derek Hatfield on Spirit of Canada. Derek started his own race in the early hours of Sunday morning rejoining Leg 4 in a race against time. While he was sailing in wet, foggy conditions, his fellow skippers were enjoying fair sailing as they headed around a short inshore course off the coast of Salvador.

Seconds after the gun fired Alan Paris on BTC Velocity crossed the line to take the start. He was immediately followed by Emma Richards on Pindar with Bruce Schwab on Ocean Planet right behind. Moments later Thierry Dubois on Solidaires rolled over the top of Ocean Planet to move into third. In a group at the committee boat end Brad Van Liew on Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, Bernard Stamm on Bobst Group Armor lux and Kojiro Shiarishi on Spirit of yukoh were all a few seconds late for the start, but all were sailing at full speed. The fleet sailed downwind towards a turning mark four miles away with the leaders duking it out for first place. At first it was Dubois who steamed into the lead, but Stamm was not to be denied and at the mark it was the all too familiar sight of Bobst Group Armor lux at the front of the pack. Bruce Schwab on Ocean Planet showed blazing speed with his narrow Tom Wylie design and followed Stamm around the mark a mere half boat-length astern. Dubois on Solidaires was third at the mark. Brad Van Liew also found himself at the front of his class and was the first Class 2 boat to round the turning mark. The warm weather was only eclipsed by hot racing as the fleet sailed close-hauled along the coast to the Farol da Barre lighthouse.

With fireworks marking the occasion, Bernard Stamm sailed past the final turning mark of the inshore course before heading out to sea. On the second leg down to the lighthouse Bobst Group Armor lux opened up an 8 boat-length lead over Solidaires, but the real story was the blazing hot performance turned in by Bruce Schwab on Ocean Planet. Schwab has said that he wants a podium finish for the leg and looks set to make his point. Not long after the Class 1 boats rounded, Brad Van Liew on Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America rounded the turning mark off the Farol da Barre lighthouse and he too headed out to sea. He was followed by Tim Kent on Everest Horizontal and Kojiro Shiarishi on Spirit of yukoh. Next stop Newport.

Written by Brian Hancock —


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