Sailing: Stamm sails away from stalled rivals

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The Independent Online

Switzerland's Bernard Stamm stretched away from the field as his rivals dealt with the aftermath of heavy storms on the first, 12,000-mile leg of the Velux 5 Oceans race from Bilbao to Fremantle, Australia, yesterday. All but one boat was struggling to return to the track after a first-night battering forced them to head for shore.

Stamm was heading west and south, well off the coast of Portugal, and expecting to pick up speed overnight. Japan's Kojiro Shiraishi, although losing about two miles to Stamm every hour as he played safe by giving Cape Finisterre a wide berth, was also still racing.

Alex Thomson, champing at the bit in Gijon, was the first to run for safety and repairs after being hit by storm-force winds.

Mike Golding was last night waiting to restart in La Coruña; race rules say that any assistance must be accompanied by a minimum 48-hour stop. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, 67, arrived in La Coruña yesterday evening to make repairs to his mast and electronics.