Fifty-seven boats got off to a good start on Friday evening (6 May) in the British Royal Ocean Racing Club's first off-shore battle of the season.
GV Yacht, the Treaty of Rome, preparing to start race at Portsmouth (3 shots)
GV Yachts at start of race
CU Morning Cloud, with Ted Heath at helm
GV Treaty of Rome and Marionette jostling for position (2 shots)
GV Marionette ZOOM OUT TO GV yachts in race
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Background: Fifty-seven boats got off to a good start on Friday evening (6 May) in the British Royal Ocean Racing Club's first off-shore battle of the season. The 200-mile cross-channel race began at Gilkicker Fort, off the southern coast of England.
SYNOPSIS: There was a brisk westerly wind to send them on their way making the first 20 mile leg a fast journey. In all, the boats will cover a total of 206 miles. One of the new entrants this year is the "Treaty of Rome", owned by a non-profit making organisation based in Brussels. The boat representing the Common Market, was built to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the EEC.
With the Admiral Cup trials beginning at the end of the month, the performances of the contenders will be closely watched. Twenty boats are entered from four nations, Britain, Ireland, Germany and France.
The former British Prime Minister, Mr Edward heath's new yacht Morning Cloud is also taking part in the race. Morning Cloud the Fifth was only launched last week. Mr Heath has had mixed fortunes with his earlier Morning Clouds but he did lead the British team to victory in the Admiral's Cup in 1971.
Chris Dunning's Marionette from the Royal Yacht Squadron and Hugh Coveney's Big Apple from the Royal Cork Yacht Club have spent the last week practising for the race.
As a yardstick for the new Admiral's Cup, contenders have three boats which represented Britain two years ago, to aim at in this race. The cross-channel race is expected to end on Sunday (8 May).