Crusader cruises home

Sailing
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The Independent Online
Sailing

Crusader cruises home

Prayers for easy, fast conditions over the 52-mile course of the annual race around the Isle of Wight were answered with an accommodating north- westerly for the 1,261 starters, but a couple still managed to make life difficult for themselves, running aground or hitting a well-known wreck, writes Mike Turner. The first monohull home was a Whitbread 60, the original Yamaha, which is now Oceans 1. She powered round in five hours 54 minutes, skippered by the Australian America's Cup helmsman, Peter Gilmour, but soon began to drop down the corrected results as her handicap weighed against her. In more embarrassing straits was the maxi Longabarda. Trying to slip through close to the Needles lighthouse, she ran aground in the process. Minutes later, Derek Waiter's Spirit of the North became the latest to clatter the 40-year-old wreck of the Greek ship, Varvassi. Class One honours went to Richard Matthews in the converted 12-metre Crusader, helmed by Harry Cudmore. Second place went to the man who sold it him, Graham Walker, in the 50-footer, Indulgence.

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