Record at mercy of French skipper

Click to follow
The record of 74 days and 22 hours set two years ago by Sir Peter Blake and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston for sailing round the world in the 92-foot catamaran Enza is set to be smashed by over three days in the early hours of this morning by French skipper Olivier de Kersauson in the 90-foot trimaran Sport-Elec.

It was de Kersauson's fourth attempt to win the Jules Verne Trophy, having abandoned the third after only a couple of weeks because he was making such slow progress in the early stages.

He then restarted on 8 March, much later than the favoured time of late December or early January but over the weekend was storming to the finish in Brest at the rate of 400 miles a day and was expected to finish today.

Also in invincible form in the Hoya Lymington Cup, Britain's only Grade 1 match racing event, was Chris Law, ranked sixth in the world. He beat Denmark's Morten Henriksen 3-0 in a best- of-five final delayed for several hours until the breeze settled in the western Solent alongside Hurst Castle.

The former world champion, Bertrand Pace, of France, ranked three, was equally commanding in his 2-0 defeat of US Virgin Islands America's Cup skipper Peter Holmberg.

Afterwards, Law paid tribute to his crew, James Stagg, Andy Hemmings and Julian Salter saying: "They have provided me with the confidence to sail the boat as I want and they are good at keeping me cool under pressure."

He also announced he had agreed terms to join as a helmsman on Graham Walker's 45-foot Corum Indulgence in the British team for the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup at the end of July. Salter will be sailing for the Americans on their Mumm 36, Jameson.

In Gothenberg, it was announced that France's Christine Guillou was the choice - a surprise one -as skipper of one of two yachts to be campaigned by the EF Language and Education in this year's seventh Whitbread Round the World Race.

As two new 60-footers were christened by Queen Silvia, it was also declared that the navigator of the women's boat would be the South African Lynnath Beckley, with Isabelle Autissier, best known for her round the world singlehanded sailing, joining the boat for the eighth leg from Baltimore/Annapolis to La Rochelle. Californian Paul Cayard skippers the men's boat.