Venture Cup prologue race turns back the clock

The first leg of the long awaited Venture Cup prologue between London and Guernsey was won by the German entered Cinzano driven by Markus Hendricks.

It proved tough going for all but the largest contenders and hence became a genuine long distance offshore race experienced in the early days of the sport.

A steady NE wind whipped up conditions in the Thames Estuary and the more exposed areas along the south coast but appeared to give little problem for the American entered Warpath driven by Daryl Grady nor the eventual winner.

The start off Southend-on-Sea, following a speed restricted procession downstream from the Pool of London, saw Cinzano head the fleet but once in the Channel it was Warpath that was in front slowly increasing its lead to over three miles before running short of fuel.

Grady tried Shoreham but had to drive back to Brighton Marina before he found a source dispensing vital gasoline and this loss of time ruined his race.

Meanwhile Cinzano was now running virtually unopposed but with sea conditions slowing the fleet, organisers decided to alter the course and cut out the Channel crossing to Guernsey finishing instead at Poole.

Cinzano headed in followed some time later by Paul Glenister in Grey Ghost with the Belgiun Birretta Due of Jean-Pierre Neels third. The rest were by now spread over a wide area.

Race organisers will now be making an overnight decision on whether to continue to the Channel Islands on Sunday or terminate the event at Poole.

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