POLISH ocean racer Zbigniew ‚Gutek’ Gutkowski has crossed the finish line of the final sprint of the VELUX 5 OCEANS singlehanded round the world yacht race in third place, to secure second place on the overall podium in his first solo circumnavigation of the globe. He becomes the 183rd person to complete the gruelling feat and the first Pole ever to do so.
The 36-year-old sailed his 60ft yacht Operon Racing into La Rochelle, France, and across the ocean sprint five finish line at 1507 local time (1307UTC) having overcome a catalogue of disasters throughout the race including two serious injuries and major boat damage.
Born in Gdansk, Poland, father of one Gutek comes from a national dingy-racing background and has also completed one circumnavigation of the world in a crewed boat in ‚The Race’ in 2000. The VELUX 5 OCEANS 2010-11 was Gutek’s first attempt to sail solo round the planet.
Gutek completed the 3,600-mile final sprint from Charleston in South Carolina to La Rochelle in 13 days, 18 hours and 07 minutes.