'There'll be snow on the Equator before I give up', says Velux skipper

At 02:57 local time (06:57 GMT) last night, Wednesday April 25, Velux 5 Oceans skipper Graham Dalton finally arrived in Norfolk, Virginia (USA), 102 days after leaving Fremantle (Western Australia).

He will not be able to complete leg three within Velux race rules and will therefore be classed ‘Did Not Start Leg 3’. However, he will still sail back to Bilbao to complete his own personal journey and solo circumnavigation.

It is a devastating blow for the experienced yachtsman, who was hoping to finish the race in memory of his son Tony, who died of cancer in 2005, and complete the daunting challenge following his retirement from the last race in 2002, when he dismasted after rounding Cape Horn. Speaking from Norfolk, a philosophical Dalton commented, ‘The fire still burns very strongly within me. On the one hand, I am just pleased to be here, but at the same time very unhappy. Five or six weeks ago I was only 3,000 miles from Norfolk and I was set to come in around 1,000 miles ahead of Robin. Not to start leg three is pretty disappointing quite frankly, but that’s the situation. I can’t do much about it, I just have to manage it and do the best I can.’

‘You never give up. I see it in yachting, I see it in other sports, where someone’s not winning, and because someone’s not winning, they give up. I see it as a heresy; I see it as a lack of character, and a lack of backbone. You have to take it on the chin, you have your good days and your bad days.’

‘To complete the race is something I’ve wanted to do for 40 years and that I’ve worked towards my entire life. But these things happen. I’m going to Spain, I’ve said before and I’ll say again, there’ll be snow on the Equator before I give up. I can’t change any administrative decision, that’s a simple fact of life, but what I can change is the way I react to it. The way I react it is we will do what we have to do here, and we will reach Spain.’