Graceful flotilla gathers for race

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The Independent Online
Porker, as his friends call him, took the plunge into Weymouth harbour as sail training schooner Malcolm Miller and Den Store Bjorn, a gaff schooner, moored at the quayside yesterday for the start of the 1994 Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race, writes Peter Victor.

The main fleet is due to arrive from France today, bringing together 76 ships with 2,500 crew members of all nationalities. They set off from the Dorset town on Wednesday on the 1,280-mile race that ends in St Malo, northern France, on 17 August.

The race takes ships west from Weymouth to the Eddystone lighthouse off the Cornish coast where the first race starts to La Coruna, 500 miles away. After a stop-over in Spain, the fleet will cruise to Oporto, Portugal, before the start of the longest race in the series: 625 miles across the Bay of Biscay to St Malo.

Ships expected to take part include the 180ft Lord Nelson, the 268ft Sagres from Portugal and the world's largest sea-going tall ship, the 450ft high, 190ft long Sedov from Russia.

(Photograph omitted)