Soldiering On

American skipper Brad Van Liew, who is currently leading the first leg of the Velux 5 Oceans race, skippering an Eco 60 class yacht (a 'recycled' Open 60) called Le Pingouin, managed to do his bit for the environment during the first few days of this initial ocean sprint from La Rochelle, France, to Cape Town, South Africa. Unfortunately for Van Liew, this involved seriously taxing his hydro-generator. 'Ironically my super-duper, eco-friendly hydro-generator picked up a trash bag which got wrapped around it and broke the system for holding it down, so I have been trying to find a new way to hold it down.'

Brad Van Liew on board his yacht, Le Pingouin
Velux 5 Oceans ©


And while Van Liew did manage to keep the offending bag out of the drink, keeping Polish skipper Zbigniew 'Gutek' Gutkowski off his heels is likely going to be a 30,000-mile knife fight as the two skippers wind their way around the planet. And to further compound the situation aboard the hometown boat, Van Liew is sick. 'I have had a couple of 20 minute naps but that’s about it. I can race the boat and I can do all the physical stuff but my head still feels pretty stuffed up and my throat is very sore.' We’re barely three days into the race and Van Liew is already demonstrating the gumption that has served him so well during his two previous laps. The mounting competitive drama between 'Gutek' and Van Liew will be an interesting one to follow.

On far more local waters, the Etchells class held their North Americans at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbor Court Facility in Newport, Rhode Island. Hank Lammens, Moose McClintoch and Dirk Kneulman topped the 33-boat fleet, earning this competitive class’ new national-level crown.

And on a granular level, here in the Pacific Northwest a century-long spate between the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and the Seattle Yacht Club will be settled this weekend when the Alexandra Cup is raced. Be sure to check out the singularly arcane rules surrounding this. Stay tuned.

May the four winds blow you safely home,