A stricken yacht has anchored off the coast of Dunedin to
make emergency repairs after being damaged during one of the
world's most gruelling round-the-world solo yacht races.
Swiss sailor Bernard Stamm first attempted to make repairs to
the hydro-generator and the central winch column on his yacht
Cheminees Poujoulat in the Auckland Islands last week while
racing towards Cape Horn, South America.
But finding a suitable place to anchor in a sheltered bay
away from kelp beds and other seaweed proved too difficult.
So he headed for New Zealand, and anchored near Murdering
Beach yesterday. The vessel's 19m-long, 6m-wide hull could
not be sailed into Otago Harbour because it needs deep keel
Swiss yachtsman Bernard Stamm stands on the stern of
Cheminees Poujoulat off Murdering Beach, near Dunedin,
waiting for the swell to subside so he can make repairs to
his hydro-generator before returning to the Vendee Globe
2012 round-the-world yacht race.
Mr Stamm was interviewed and photographed from a small
boat yesterday afternoon after a friend emailed the Otago
about his plight. He said the long sail north
was a major detour in his bid to win the Vendee Globe 2012
round-the-world yacht race.
The non-stop race, known as the ''Everest of the Seas'',
begins in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, and heads east via the
capes of Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn before heading back to
the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne.
Mr Stamm said he was leading the race when one of the
brackets securing the hydro-generator on the hull failed.
The system uses motion through water to generate electricity,
and without it, he does not have enough energy to power
appliances such as lights, pumps, computers, navigation and
automatic piloting equipment.
Mr Stamm said he was taking care to avoid physical contact
with any other vessels for fear of breaking race rules, which
state competitors will be disqualified if they receive help
or equipment during the race.
While in the Auckland Islands, a Russian ship came alongside
and offered fuel, but he rejected the offer because he was
determined to continue the race.
He said it was a difficult choice, but he was guided by his
''sense of responsibility''.
Mr Stamm said he had been at sea since November 10, and at an
average speed of 14 knots, he still had about 40 days to go
before he crossed the finish line.
When asked if he had had a shower since his departure, he
shook his head and pointed to the sea before making scrubbing
He often dreamed of having a cold beer. He said: ''A beer
would be nice now, but it would taste better at the end.''
Being at sea alone was lonely at times, but he was grateful
he could communicate via his laptop with his wife and two
However, the damaged hydro-generator meant he has had to cut
back on the amount of communication with his family.
He was looking forward to finishing the repairs so he could
make contact with them more often.
He hoped to be back on the high seas some time today, he
Although Mr Stamm was only about halfway through the race, he
said he was now more than 3500km behind the race leader and
it was unlikely he could still win.
In his previous attempt at the Vendee Globe race, he had to
retire due to damage, so this year's race was now more about
getting to the finish, he said.