VELUX 5 OCEANS – arrival in Fremantle 15 December 2006

Skippers arriving in Fremantle, Australia
After eight weeks of extreme sailing the VELUX 5 OCEANS skippers are now arriving in Fremantle, Australia.

Swiss skipper Bernard Stamm wins the first leg with Japanese skipper Kojiro Shiraishi in second. When the remaining three skippers arrive in Fremantle VELUX will host an award ceremony at the port in Fremantle before starting the second leg of the race.

The first leg of VELUX 5 OCEANS 2006 has been sensational. Fierce storms and severe accidents have hit the contestants, causing shipwrecks that regrettably forced Alex Thomson and Mike Golding to leave the race so that only five skippers are still competing in the race.

Bernard Stamm was first to arrive in Fremantle on 4 December after 43 days and 12,000 miles of racing.

- I am very pleased to be here, to have won this leg and to be back on dry land. It really was a difficult leg; I had to go up the mast three times. The start was hard, but the hardest moment was just a few days before arriving in Fremantle when I was suddenly hit by a blast of 50 to 60 knots.

Amazing courage and endurance among the skippers
While the remaining skippers are approaching at the quay of the port of Fremantle, Marketing Director in VELUX A/S Michael K. Rasmussen is taking stock of the first leg.

- The action and the drama during the first weeks of the race outstrips our imagination. That both Alex Thomson suffering shipwreck and Mike Golding with a broken mast should be forced to leave the race before arriving in Fremantle was almost unthinkable. I greatly admire the bravery and commitment of Mike Golding in his effort to rescue a fellow contestant in need. So far the first leg has been a true testament to the unique character of the VELUX 5 OCEANS skippers and the fierce and courageous battle between man and the treacherous elements of the sea. I deeply regret that Alex and Mike had to leave the race. On the other hand five sailors are still competing, and we look forward to celebrating them in Fremantle when the last three skippers arrive.

Award ceremony in Fremantle
An award ceremony celebrating the winner of the first leg will be held at the port in Fremantle when all skippers have arrived, expectedly on 7 January. As part of the ceremony, media representatives and other guests will be invited for a sail around the port with the VELUX 5 OCEANS skippers to get a closer look at the boats and equipment and to hear the skippers' amazing stories from the first leg of the 2006 race. The event will also be a chance for the visitors in the race zone to speak to VELUX executives, skippers and dignitaries from Western Australia and Fremantle.