CANADIAN ocean racer Derek Hatfield arrived in VELUX 5 OCEANS home port La Rochelle this morning after sailing more than 3,000 miles solo across the Atlantic. Derek’s arrival marks the end of a two-week voyage from Nova Scotia, Canada, on his Eco 60 Active House.
Derek slipped on to the berth in the Bassin des Chalutiers in the city’s Vieux Port under the cover of darkness shortly after 6.30am. The 57-year-old is the second VELUX 5 OCEANS skipper to arrive in the historic French port ahead of the race start on October 17. American Brad Van Liew arrived on Thursday having sailed 4,000 miles from Charleston, South Carolina. British ocean racer Chris Stanmore-Major is set to arrive in La Rochelle early next week.
The delivery to La Rochelle allowed Derek to put Active House, formerly solo sailor Rich Wilson’s Great America III, through its paces. During the 13-day North Atlantic crossing Active House was battered by storms bringing wind speeds of up to 45 miles per hour.
Derek, who won class three of the VELUX 5 OCEANS (then the Around Alone) in 2003, said: “We were hit by one storm in particular that kicked up really dangerous waves of about 10 metres. It didn’t last for that long but it was really violent. It was another good test for Active House and she performed beautifully.”
Now berthed in the Bassin des Chalutiers, Derek will spend the following weeks leading to the race start making final preparations to Active House on shore as well as taking her for test sails in the Chef de Baie.
“We will now be pretty flat out for the next couple of weeks getting Active House ready for start day,” Derek added. “We have a list of jobs following the delivery and also a new suit of sails coming. It is great to be in La Rochelle. This is the last stage in our pre-race preparation and I’m really looking forward to starting the VELUX 5 OCEANS.”
Recently Derek and his Spirit of Canada team signed a title sponsorship deal with Active House, a global alliance of companies, research institutions and other organisations promoting sustainable buildings. Derek’s Eco 60 has since been branded with the Active House Alliance's livery on the yacht's hulls, decks and sails.
The VELUX 5 OCEANS, run by Clipper Ventures PLC, is the longest running solo round the world race, and has 28 years of rich heritage as the BOC Challenge and then the Around Alone. This edition features five ocean sprints over nine months. After heading from La Rochelle to Cape Town, the race will then take in Wellington in New Zealand, Salvador in Brazil and Charleston in the US before returning back across the Atlantic to France. The VELUX 5 OCEANS will start at 4pm on October 17 from La Rochelle.
Please visit www.velux5oceans.com