Bernard Stamm faces second disqualification from Vendée Globe round the world race


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The Independent Online

Swiss solo sailor Bernard Stamm faces being disqualified for the second time from the Vendée Globe round the world race after announcing that he is to link up with Spanish counterpart Unai Bazurko to take on diesel fuel when he reaches Cape Horn on Wednesday or Thursday.

Stamm had been disqualified by the race’s rules after being helped by a Russian scientific ship when trying to repair his water-powered electricity generators in New Zealand’s Auckland Islands.

Stamm appealed, all of his rivals asked the jury to reconsider, and the case was to be re-opened when the Russians presented new evidence.

But race rules forbid any outside assistance and refuelling definitely comes into that category. Stamm has practically no fuel left and needs to run a generator to power all his instruments, collect weather and ice information, and needs to stay in touch with his shore team.

Britain’s Alex Thomson in fourth place and also low on fuel with his remaining hydrogenerator unable to provide much electricity is also in trouble but has made no move so far to seek extra fuel.

François Gabard has increased his lead to over 100 miles ahead of Armel le Cléach as the two make slower progress northwards in the south Atlantic. Third-placed Jean-Pierre has also slowed and is 450 miles behind Gabard as Thomson is 625 miles astern

Mike Golding, also suffering with hydrogenerator problems, is holding sixth nearly 1,900 miles behind the leader.