Sailing: Smart start for veteran in world race

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The Independent Online

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston vowed he would be ready to race again in a fortnight's time when he finished the first leg of the Velux 5 Oceans single-handed round-the-world race from Bilbao to Fremantle.

The 67-year-old said he was feeling fit enough to take on a heavyweight title fight despite 67 days, 57 minutes and 15 seconds at sea. But he admitted there was a lot of work to do in the mean time on his Open 60, Saga Insurance, especially to the electronics, autopilots and mainsail.

Knox-Johnston finished third after two other Britons, Alex Thomson and Mike Golding, had to drop out. The leg was won by Switzerland's Bernard Stamm in 42d 23hr 18min.

In Tasmania, Bob Oatley's 98-foot Wild Oats won the Sydney to Hobart race but his time of 2d 8hr 52min 33sec was 14 hours outside the record he set last year.