Displaying items by tag: Zbigniew 'Gutek' Gutkowsk
Velux 5 Oceans skippers are battening down the hatches as a summer storm surges towards the fleet in the Southern Ocean - with giants swells and winds of more than 40 knots expected
“I’m a little anxious, I want to make sure I take care of the boat,” said sprint leader Brad Van Liew, American skipper of the Eco 60 'Le Pingoui'.
"If it doesn’t bring too much unexpected weather we could get some good fast sailing from it. If it ends up bringing a lot more wind than forecast it could be a lot more dangerous.”
Van Liew and his fellow racers have already spent three weeks at sea in the second ocean sprint, covering 5,000 nautical miles, with 2,500 left to go to the finish line in Wellington, New Zealand.
At this stage speed is of the essence, but safety is paramount - the Velux 5 Oceans skippers must make sure they they stay in the race if they want to contend for a podium finish.
As of 6pm yesterday, Le Pingouin was in the lead ahead of Zbigniew Gutkowski in Operon Racing, Derek Hatfield in Active House and Chris Stanmore-Major's Spartan.
Zbigniew 'Gutek' Gutkowski has moved one step closer to his goal of becoming the first Polish person to race solo around the world after getting his hands on a high-tech Eco 60 yacht for the VELUX 5 OCEANS. Gutek, one of Poland's best known and most experienced sailors, has spent several months carefully choosing the right boat to take him 30,000 nautical miles around the world in The Ultimate Solo Challenge.
Gutek has settled on Globe, formerly Bagages Superior, one of the most proven Eco 60s on the market. The yacht is a former Vendée Globe winner - in 1991 French solo sailing legend and VELUX 5 OCEANS veteran Alain Gautier steered her to glory. Four years later she returned to the Vendée Globe with Eric Dumont, just missing out on a podium place to finish fourth. Globe is also a veteran of three Transat Jacques Vabre races. In 2000 Globe was rebuilt and five years later she was given a complete overhaul, putting her back at the front line of modern racing yachts.
The next step in Gutek's voyage to the start of the race in La Rochelle, France, on October 17 is to set sail on a qualifying passage. Having taken delivery of the yacht earlier this week, Gutek and his Polish Ocean Racing team are now preparing Globe for her first offshore voyage under his command.
Gutek, 36, said: "I am very pleased to be able to sail Globe around the world in the VELUX 5 OCEANS. The search for the right boat for me has been a long one but it was worthwhile as now I have a great boat that I know will perform and I can trust in her. I am looking forward to getting to know the boat better when I take her on the qualifying passage later this month. After that we will carry our final preparations before sailing to La Rochelle to prepare for the start of the VELUX 5 OCEANS."
No stranger to ocean racing, Gutek was a watch captain onboard WARTA-POLPHARMA in The Race, the non-stop race around the world for multihulls. In 2005 he skippered the ORMA 60 Bonduelle in the Nokia Oops Cup. He also attempted to break the monohull record for a non-stop circumnavigation onboard the Volvo 60 Bank BPH (formerly ASSA ABLOY), but damage forced the crew to Cape Town after 9,500 miles.
The VELUX 5 OCEANS, run by Clipper Ventures PLC, is the longest running solo round the world race, and has 28 years of rich heritage as the BOC Challenge and then the Around Alone. This edition features five ocean sprints over nine months. After heading from La Rochelle to Cape Town, the race will then take in Wellington in New Zealand, Salvador in Brazil and Charleston in the US before returning back across the Atlantic to France.