'Independent blogger' Chris Stanmore-Major involved in photo finish

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The Independent Online

After over 6,000 miles alone at sea, Zbigniew Gutkowski of Poland on Operon Racing and Chris ‘CSM’ Stanmore-Major on Spartan finished the third ocean sprint of the VELUX 5 OCEANS within 40 seconds of one another.

Gutek took second place crossing the finish line in Punta del Este, Uruguay, on Thursday 1640 local time (1840 UTC) with CSM taking third place at 16:40:40 local time (18:40:40 UTC).

Gutek completed the leg from Wellington in New Zealand to Punta del Este in 25 days, 17 hours and 10 minutes, he sailed 6,828 nautical miles at an average speed of 11.1 knots.. CSM did it in 25 days, 17 hours, 10 minutes and 40 seconds, sailing 6,767 nautical miles at an average speed of 11 knots.

CSM, who writes a blog for The Independent, explained, “It’s been a very interesting day. This morning I got a position update saying Gutek was only one mile behind me. I was hoping that the tack I was about to do would put me ahead of him but I saw him about 11am pass in front of me about a mile ahead. He is sailing that boat out of his skin. I just couldn’t catch him going upwind. Then the wind clocked round so we were on a reach and that’s what Spartan does best. Suddenly we were doing 13 or 14 knots and we chased Gutek down pretty quickly.”

“Coming into Punta I had about a fix-boat lead on him and everything was looking really good. Then, coming towards the line I got too close to a patch of rocks which was an error on my part. I had been on deck concentrating on the sailing. I ended up finishing 40 seconds behind him rather than 40 seconds ahead, but that’s racing, that’s what it’s all about. This sprint has proven I have a fast boat and I have taken the handbrake off now and I think we have a good chance for the next leg. We have lost out on second place and that’s a great pity, I wish we were parked one boat closer to Brad, but I think we have made our point – we know what we’re doing now and we can go fast.”

Canadian Skipper Derek Hatfield crossed the finish line at 1752 local time (1952 UTC) to take fourth position, just over an hour behind CSM.