Sporting Digest: Sailing

The record for sailing across the Atlantic has been shattered by over three days. Mari-Cha III, the 138-foot ketch designed by Philippe Briand and owned by Robert Miller, a Hong Kong-based businessman, broke the nine-day barrier by just 47 seconds. Skippered by the Frenchman Lionel Pean with an almost entirely French crew, the yacht was surfing spectacularly as she completed the voyage from New York to The Lizard. The previous record of 11 days, 13 hours and 22 minutes was set by Sweden's Ludde Ingvall in the 80-foot Nicorette. Pean and his crew were using the record attempt as part of their build-up for The Race, a no-holds-barred non-stop round the world race scheduled to commence in Gibraltar on 31 December, 2000.

The Frenchman Marc Thiercelin has decided to dig south in a bid to maintain his lead on the first leg of the Around Alone Race from Charleston to Cape Town. It has put him neck-and-neck with another top French sailor, Isabelle Autissier. Behind them, in the two Class 1 60-foot British entries, Mike Golding was beginning to pull away from Josh Hall with 2,000 miles to go.

In the all-Kiwi final for the Bermuda Gold Cup yesterday, Murray Jones, the first unseeded competitor in the event's 50-year history, was trailing 1-2 to Russell Coutts, when a tanker halted play in Hamilton harbour. In the play-off for the minor places another Kiwi, Gavin Brady, was fifth, with Chris Law sixth, Germany's Markus Weiser seventh and John Cutler eighth.

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