Sailing: German maxi takes Hobart honours

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The Independent Online
The German maxi Morning Glory broke the Sydney-to-Hobart record on Saturday after a tumultuous 63 hours on the water in one of the world's toughest ocean yacht races.

Morning Glory, skippered by Barry McKay but boasting an international crew that included victorious America's Cup helmsman Russell Coutts of New Zealand, broke the 21-year-old record set by American maxi Kialoa III. The record of two days, 14 hours, 36 minutes, and 56 seconds for the 630 nautical miles (690 miles) was set by the American skipper Jim Kilroy in 1975. Morning Glory, a purple-hulled 80-footer which had to endure a bad start, gale-force knocks and then light, becalming winds near the finish, broke that mark by 29 minutes and 46 seconds.

After the swift run up the Derwent River to clinch the record, Morning Glory's owner and German industrialist Hasso Plattner said the US$240,000 (pounds 165,000) prize for breaking the record would be shared among the 21- member crew.

Plattner, who had to fly in a new mast and fit it before the Sydney to Hobart after one broke during preliminary racing, said his Reichel-Pugh- designed maxi had had a great race. After recovering from a bad start, Morning Glory had to weather 40-knot winds and did so without the mainsail, Plattner said. The winds caused the German's main rival, the Australian maxi Brindabella, to lose a mast and retire from the race.

The Hong Kong-registered pocket maxi Exile finish second, three hours later, followed by the Australian maxi Foxtel Amazon in third.