Father who raced in son's memory misses cut-off for final leg

At 1620 GMT yesterday, Sunday 22 April, Graham Dalton was still some 500 miles away from Norfolk, thus missing the cut-off date to be able to start leg 3 of the Velux 5 Oceans Race. The race rules state that he must start leg 3 within seven days of the official start – last Wednesday 18 April, but that he must also spend 72 hours in the host port in-between legs.

When Dalton arrives in Norfolk, currently thought to be this Wednesday 25 April, he has two choices; to retire from the race or to start to Bilbao and break race rules, either leaving before the mandatory stop over of 72 hours has elapsed or leaving after the one week start window has expired. If Dalton chooses the latter path, he will be subject to a protest from race organisers and/or one of the other skippers, which will then be ruled upon by the jury.

Race Director David Adams commented, ‘My main priority at the moment is the safety of Graham Dalton and his successful arrival in Norfolk, Virginia. We will then let Graham make a decision on how he wishes to proceed and allocate the relevant status.’

Dalton’s story in the Velux 5 Oceans has been an epic story of drama, emotion and endless bad luck. He entered the last edition of the Velux 5 Oceans, then the Around Alone, in 2002/3, but suffered a series of catastrophes. His boom snapped west of Cape Horn, and his yacht was rolled as it rounded the world’s southernmost Cape, but it wasn’t until he was dismasted north of the Falkland Islands that he finally retired from the race. ‘I don’t have a problem with failure. I have a problem with not trying or giving up’, he said.

As he prepared for the 2006/7 race, his 22-year-old son Anthony was fighting cancer. Tony died just before Christmas 2005, and Dalton named his yacht in his son’s memory – A Southern Man – AGD – with Tony’s intitials and picture on the side.