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Brad Van Liew First Through Speed Gate In Velux 5 Oceans Sprint Two
Brad Van Liew has powered though the end of the speed gate in the second sprint of the round the world yacht race. Over the last 24 hours the American has been surfing his Eco 60 yacht Le Pingouin along at an average of around 12 knots, the fastest in the fleet, and hitting top speeds of more than 20 knots as he leads the racers towards New Zealand.
Brad passed the longitude 50E on Monday marking the start of the timed run to 75E. The skipper who passes between these two longitudes in the shortest time is awarded three bonus points at the end of the sprint. Brad sailed out of the speed gate at 01:02 UTC on Wednesday December 29 after two days of high-octane Southern Ocean sailing. His passage automatically sets the time to beat, with race rivals Derek Hatfield and Zbigniew 'Gutek' Gutkowski chasing hard around 170 nautical miles behind.
"The big wind that came through a couple of days ago, 40 knots or so, was a big reminder for me," he said. "It's been eight years since I was down in the Southern Ocean and Le Pingouin is a much lighter, much different boat from my previous yachts. To be in that weather was a real reminder that I definitely need to stay focused on the weather, make sure I stay in the 25 to 30 knot area.
"The waves are huge, the air is cold and damp and it all creates a really harsh environment. Conditions can really get dangerous really quickly. It has reminded me that I need to respect the power of ocean and tread lightly, take good care of Le Pingouin and just inch our way along. It's amazing how you feel like you're so far off the edge of the planet and so distant from other people. It's fantastic and a wonderful thing to see and do but it quite intimidating."