Van Liew Appears Set to Sweep Velux

With less than 800 miles to the finish and a solid lead on his competitors, American Brad Van Liew appears to be set to claim victory in the Velux 5 Oceans despite some bumps in the road on this last leg.

The end may be in sight but the final sprint of the Velux 5 Oceans is far from over yet for overall leader Brad Van Liew who has been battling a fierce North Atlantic storm. The 43-year-old is not only at the top of the leader-board after a clean sweep of the previous four ocean sprints but has also led the charge across the North Atlantic from his hometown of Charleston in South Carolina to La Rochelle in France, the place the race started from more than eight months ago.

At yesterday’s 1800 UTC position report – the last schedule where all four boats were polled – Brad had a lead of just over 60 miles on his race rivals. Choosing to seek out stronger winds to up his speeds towards La Rochelle Brad sailed his Eco 60 Le Pingouin close to the eye of a depression. He was rewarded with boat speeds hitting more than 25 knots – but also paid the price for the move encountering howling 47-knot winds and crashing seas.

“This low pressure area I’m in is quite a barn-burner,” Brad reported on Tuesday. “I’ve had up to 47 knots this morning with lots of squalls. The seas have got really gnarly too – not huge but really short and steep. Right now I’m just trying to take care of the boat – I’ve got three reefs in the main and no jib at all. I wanted to stay north to get the stronger breeze but it has got pretty serious.

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