Crowds brave inclement weather to see off Velux 5 Oceans skippers

The Velux 5 Oceans competitors leaving Wellington harbour for the start of Ocean Sprint 3 on Sunday. - Velux 5 Oceans
Genevieve Howard
The Velux 5 Oceans Ocean Sprint 3 got off to a grey and drizzly start on Sunday, February 6.

The four competitors - Brad Van Liew (USA, racing the Le Pingouin), Chris Stanmore-Major (UK, racing the Spartan), Derek Hatfield (Canada, racing the Active House) and Zbigniew Gutkowski (Poland, racing Operon Racing) – had extra crew to assist the Eco 60s from Queens Wharf, where they have been moored for the duration of the Velux 5 Oceans Expo in Wellington, to the starting line at the entrance of a misty Wellington Harbour.

A large crowd had braved the inclement weather to see off the skippers.

The Met Office website reported that the winds on Sunday were gusty northerlies ranging between 35km/h and 50km/h with occasional heavy rains. Maximum temperatures – on land – were 20 degrees Celsius.

The departing ceremonies began at noon, with the blessing of the four racing Eco 60s. The competitors made their way out of the Queens Wharf and into the harbour one by one. Start time was 2.30pm.

Brad Van Liew was first across the line and continues to lead the single-handed, round-the-world race, having also won the first two sprints. According to the Velux 5 Oceans website at 2pm on Monday, Van Liew has 5,618 nautical miles to the finish of Ocean Sprint 3 in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

In second place is Derek Hatfield, six nautical miles behind Van Liew with 5,624 nautical miles to go to the finish. Chris Stanmore-Major is in third place with 5,628 nautical miles to go, followed by Zbigniew Gutkowski with 5,639 nautical miles to go. Winds are roughly 25 to 30 knots.

The Velux 5 Oceans competitors leaving Wellington harbour for the start of Ocean Sprint 3 on Sunday. - Velux 5 Oceans
Genevieve Howard

The Velux 5 Oceans competitors leaving Wellington harbour for the start of Ocean Sprint 3 on Sunday. - Velux 5 Oceans
Genevieve Howard

Velux 5 Oceans officials make their way to the start of Ocean Sprint 3 in Wellington harbour on Sunday. - Velux 5 Oceans
Genevieve Howard

The Velux 5 Oceans competitors leaving Wellington harbour for the start of Ocean Sprint 3 on Sunday. - Velux 5 Oceans
Genevieve Howard

The Velux 5 Oceans competitors leaving Wellington harbour for the start of Ocean Sprint 3 on Sunday. - Velux 5 Oceans
Genevieve Howard

The Velux 5 Oceans competitors leaving Wellington harbour for the start of Ocean Sprint 3 on Sunday. - Velux 5 Oceans
Genevieve Howard