Minute's silence observed
The departure of the Velux 5 Oceans fleet on their final leg of the solo round the world race from Norfolk, Virginia saw all the skippers, race organisers, local volunteers and sailing fans pay respect to the young people recently killed by a gunman at Virginia Tech University, the worst school shooting massacre in the nation’s history, that saw 33 dead and many more injured.
Before the yachts departed, everyone respected a minute’s silence in a small ceremony and the US flag in the marina was flown at half mast.
Unai Basurko’s PAKEA was first across the line, after both Bernard Stamm
(CHEMINEES POUJOULAT) and Kojiro Shiraishi (SPIRIT OF YUKOH) went too
early and were forced to power down so as not to cross the line before
the gun. This left the young Basque skipper to charge from behind and be
the first to cross the line and lead the fleet for his home town across
Basurko was quickly followed by Stamm and then Shiraishi, and finally
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston on SAGA INSURANCE only a short distance behind.
However, within ten minutes of the start, PAKEA had dropped to the back
of the fleet, with CHEMINEES POUJOULAT and SPIRIT OF YUKOH already
building a healthy lead as the yachts tacked to pass through the huge
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
The start, which took place in sheltered waters, saw a northerly wind of around 15 knots power the Open 60s through calm waters. However, the conditions the other side of the bridge should be much tougher, with stronger winds and large