As the 2006 Velux5Oceans race came closer, RKJ became interested in entering, partly because he needed to draw a line in his life having lost his wife, and partly because people said that at 67 years of age he was too old to sail around the world, and certainly not in an Open 60 yacht. There was alos a curiosity to see how these modern boats behaved in thewatery Himalayas of the Southern Ocean. In May 2006 he bought "Fila" the boat that Giovanni Soldini had won the Around Alone Race in 1998 before it was re-named the Velux5oceans race. Having been Chairman of the BOC Challenge in 1982 and 1986, before that was re-christened Around Alone, RKJ found himself having to comply with a rule he had made himself in 1982, namely the need to qualify! He did this with a voyage to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and back and then started a major re-fit.
The race started on 22nd October 2006 from Bilbao in northern Spain, and the fleet ran straight into hurricane force winds off Cape Finisterre which caught 5 of the 7 starters. RKJ sustained some damage, and having put into Corunna for repairs, re-joined the race, hampered by a fractured coccyx. Problems with electronics meant that he was unable to race effectively as he was unable to download weather information, nor was the auto-pilot wortking effectively. Almost 40 years on from his first solo circumnavigation, the changes that ahd taken place in ocean racing might be compared with the difference between flying a bi-plane and Concorde! Broken sailbattens restricted speed and catching a fishing net, which involved diving into the near freezing waters of the Roaring Forties, caused delays, but RKJ was 3rd into Fremantle.
The next leg was some 15,000 miles around Cape Horn to Norfolk, Virginia, and having had to return to the start to finally resolve the self-steering problems, RKJ caught the last two boats before Cape Horn but then pulled into Ushaia to sort out non functioning satellite communications. He never recovered from this delay and arrived last into Norfolk, the fleet now reduced to 4 boats. He finished 3rd in the last leg, but was only able to make up 24 of the 43 hours required to finish 3rd overall.
Racing a really fast mono-hull had proved to be an exciting experience but RKJ has no desire to race around the world again - or so he says!