In Leg 3, which ran from Cape Town, South Africa, to Tauranga, New Zealand, Van Liew dusted the competition out of the gate in his boat Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America. As can be the case in singlehanded ocean racing, the most difficult obstacles he had to overcome had little to do with his competitors. He had to dodge a whale and a giant sunfish and then, just when he was getting near the finish, survive some horrible weather and a lot of upwind sailing, for which his Open 50 is not really designed. "It was unreal," he said. "It's like someone kept resetting the windward mark. And tacking up the coastline, that's a bear." According to Van Liew, a burly 34-year-old from Charleston, S.C., weather experts usually predict a northwesterly breeze for the east coast of New Zealand's North Island during the austral summer, but for his run down the coast of the North Island, the wind came right out of the south, gusted to 60 knots, and whipped up an ugly sea. "I arrived in Tauranga with just three hours of sleep in three days," said Van Liew.