Velux Racers Suffer Doldrums

News brief

VeluxNB-Shiraishi
Kojiro Shiraishi

Frustrations run high as competitors in the Velux 5 Oceans Race make their way through the Doldrums, a region of notoriously light winds and high temperatures around the equator.Trudging into a light northeasterly headwind, second place Kojiro Shirashi lost 47 miles to race leader Bernard Stamm on Thursday night. "The wind is coming from the exact direction in which I want to sail," said the irritated Japanese skipper. "Even as I tack, I am facing 110 degrees from where I want to be traveling. The temperature has risen to over 30 degrees Celsius, as the batteries are still being recharged by the radiating engine. The conditions inside the cabin could be described as an incandescent hell."Shiraishi is now 2100 miles behind Stamm, who is suffering his own misfortunes on the opposite end of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. Having lost the use of his watermaker, Stamm has been forced to collect rainwater in order to keep himself hydrated. "Today, I spoke to my ship," said the near delirious Swiss skipper. "'We cannot continue like this. I need to take some rest. To sleep, even one hour, but a little bit of rest, otherwise we'll not be friends anymore.'" The third place competitor, Unai Basurko, trails second place by 1200 miles. Four hundred miles behind him, the UK's Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is still lamenting the fact that, in accordance with race rules, he had to turn down a bottle of whiskey offered him by the crew of a Royal Navy destroyer near the Falkland Islands.For the latest Velux 5 Oceans news, click here.