Bernard Stamm disqualified from Vendée Globe round the world race


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The Independent Online

Swiss solo sailor Bernard Stamm has been disqualified by the international jury overseeing the race from the Vendée Globe round the world singlehander.

His sin was to moor alongside and to a Russian scientific ship in the Auckland Islands while trying to effect repairs to his electricity generators.

One of the central rules is that competitors should race around the world without any outside assistance. Stopping for repairs is permitted, but no-one is allowed to help in any way. Stamm, who subsequently went to Dunedin to complete the repairs and has since restarted his trek towards towards Cape Horn, was given 24 hours to ask for the decision to be overturned.

This is the third time Stamm has attempted the race. He failed to finish the first two.

At the front of the 13 remaining competitors of the 20 which started from Les Sables d’Olonne in early November, François Gabard was first to pass Cape Horn, one and a half hours ahead of the man, Armel le Cléac’h, with whom he has exchanged the lead for 53 days. The pair now has about 6,500 miles to go.

In third place Jean-Pierre Dick has been making fast miles but is still 380 miles behind the leader as an equally speedy Alex Thomson holds fourth place 500 miles behind Dick. Mike Golding in sixth place is about 2,500 miles behind the leaders.

America’s Cup holder Oracle has been penalised five days of training at the end of April as its punishment, including a $13,500 fine and an order to return all photographs, for spying on Italian challenger Luna Rossa while the Italians were testing their 72-foot wing-powered catamaran in Auckland.

The Italians’ training partner, Emirates Team New Zealand, has confirmed that it will send a youth team to any World Series regattas in the 45-foot cats this year, the first of which is scheduled for Naples in April. The May venue is the United States has yet to be confirmed.