Racing Silverline wins as many boats drop out
The opening leg of the Round Britain race that headed from Portsmouth to Plymouth yesterday (Saturday) proved a tough test for much of the 47 boat fleet. A rough head sea across Lyme By slowed many forcing more than ten entries to pull out with one problem or another.
Despite this Drew Langdon, Jan Falkowski and Miles Jennings were first to finish bringing the Buzzi designed Racing Silverline home in first place after covering the 135nm course in less than three hours. But those further astern were not as lucky.
Race favourite Fabio Buzzi, the Italian winner of the last circumnavigation in 1984 and favoured to win yet again in his 3,500hp FPT Red, struck a submerged wartime defence barrier, smashing a rudder and one of his three propellers.
The Austrian driver, Hannes Bohinc, was another. The one time round Britain record holder drives one of the fastest boats in the line-up only to blow his engines in the first few miles. Both Buzzi and Bohinc are expected to work through the night making repairs and could rejoin the fleet further down the course.
It was less than ten minutes after Silverline finished that the Greek entry of Blue FPT of Vassilis Peteras and Panos Tsikopoulos entered Plymouth. They were to take second slot with Nick Gilley and Jon Fuller bringing the Phanton hull, Swipewipes.co.uk, finished a matter of hours before the start, home in third placeless than a minute behind.
The weather made it a punishing race, some unable to take stand the strain The Fairey cruiser 747, crewed by three British Airways Captains was forced to enter Weymouth to put Mark Jealous ashore with a broken rib.
Garmin, the boat carry TV presenter Nick Knowles suffered early mechanical problems and was last night limping west off Lyme Regis. But this was insignificant compared to the luck experienced by the German entered Swordfish cruiser, Blue Marlin.
It was while crossing the rough and tumble Lyme Bay that she suddenly sprung a leak. Pumps could combat the inrush of water and she went forcing the crew to take to their liferaft. Markus Hendricts and his three-man crew were later picked up unharmed by a following competitor but Blue Marlin is now considered a total loss.
A poor weather forecast for Sunday’s leg from Plymouth to Milford Haven could cause delay or a modification to the course to enable the event to maintain its time-table.