As a fitting climax to Britain's Admiral's Cup yachting series, 248 ocean racers today (August 11) set out or the fourth, final and toughest contest in the event -- the 605 miles (960 kms) Fastnet race.
GV Admiral's Cup yachts in Cowes Harbour. (2 shots)
SCU Australian crewman prepares Ginkgo.
SV PAN crewmen preparing Australian yacht 'Ragamuffin'
CU People on quayside.
SV West German crew members preparing 'Saudade'
SV Another West German crew preparing 'Carina III'
CU PAN Brazilian yacht 'Saga' with crew on board.
SV & CU British premier Heath sailing out on 'Morning Cloud'. (3 shots)
GV Portuguese square-rigger.
LV English square-rigger
GV Starting-cannon fired.
SV 'Saudade' under way.
SV & LV Australian yacht 'Apollo II' under way. (2 shots)
SV 'Morning Cloud' under way.
Initials BB/2006 VS.21.22
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Background: As a fitting climax to Britain's Admiral's Cup yachting series, 248 ocean racers today (August 11) set out or the fourth, final and toughest contest in the event -- the 605 miles (960 kms) Fastnet race.
British Prime Minister Edward Heath, just back from the Commonwealth Summit Conference in Ottawa, was skippering his yacht Morning Clout, aboard which he led his country to victory in the last Admiral's Cup series two years ago, as the fleet set out from Cowes, Isle of Wight.
But in the current series, at the end of the first three races, West Germany held the lead, seven points ahead of Australia with Britain a further 24 points behind in third place.
I today's windless conditions the yachts got off to a slow drifting start. In these circumstances, the British yacht Frigate held the early lead followed by another of the British trio, Quailo III. Prime Minister Heath's Morning Cloud was in the centre of the huge fleet.
SYNOPSIS: The Admiral's Cup series, the British yachting classic attracting some of the world's top ocean racers, reached its climax on Saturday.
Australian crews aboard Ginkgo and Ragamuffin prepare at Cowes, Isle of Wight, for the final leg of the four-race series -- the six-hundred mile Fastnet Race. The Australians were lying second in the Cup as the race started.
Leaders after the first three races were the West Germans, with a frail seven point advantage over the Australians. A total of sixteen nations are taking part this year.
British Prime Minister Edward Heath, just back from the Commonwealth Summit meeting in Ottawa, was once more aboard Morning Cloud -- on which he led the British to victory in the last Admiral's Cup. At the start of the Fastnet Race, the British team was in third place.
At the starting gun, the wind dropped right away. Following a half-hour delay, the race went ahead. Briefly the West German Saudade showed well, but then the British yachts Frigate and Quailo the Third took over the leading positions. Ahead lay a tough course along England's south-west coast to the Rock of Fastnet off Ireland -- two-day's sailing in good conditions.