The pressure to protect his lead in the race to his hometown is mounting for VELUX 5 OCEANS skipper Brad Van Liew as ocean sprint four enters its final stage. Since March 26th, the 43-year-old American has dominated the 5,700-nautical mile leg from Punta del Este in Uruguay, maintaining his reputation as the man to beat. But with under 900 nautical miles left to sail to the finish line in his home port of Charleston, SC, and after pulling out all his tricks to shake off his race rivals, Brad has only been able to watch as Derek Hatfield and Chris Stanmore-Major continue to eat away at his lead.
A veteran of two VELUX 5 OCEANS races and a winner of class two of the 2002/3 event, Brad is the most experienced of the fleet competing in The Ultimate Solo Challenge and has won each of the three sprints. Brad rates his reading of the weather as his best skill at sea, but nothing can compensate for when the weather does something different to what’s forecast. After passing the northwest tip of South America, Brad chose to disregard the bonus points on offer for winning the sprint four timed run instead opting to take a more westerly course to set himself up for a quick passage past the Caribbean islands and up to Charleston. However, his return on investment hasn’t been all he’d hoped, with Derek and Chris making bigger gains on their more easterly courses. The pressure to keep up his winning streak and sail into his hometown victorious has never been greater.
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