One of the world's top sailing races has started in the Solent off the English south coast with an American yacht making a strong challenge for top place.
GV Start of first inshore race
LV American boat Bay Bea
LV Pinta (W. Germany)
LV Imp (USA) - foreground with Marionette (U.K.) background
CU Azahara (Spain)
Champagne (W. Germany)
Emeraude (France) passes marker buoy
GV Champagne (West Germany) leads Mandrake (Italy)
PAN FROM Mandrake and Champagne TO Big Apple (Ireland)
CU & PULL BACK Vanguard (Hong Kong)
GV Pinta under spinnaker
CU & ZOOM Bay Bea in lead
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Background: One of the world's top sailing races has started in the Solent off the English south coast with an American yacht making a strong challenge for top place. The Bay Bea was the first yacht out of the entrants from 19 countries to cross the finishing line at the end of the first of five races to determine the winner of the Admiral's Cup.
SYNOPSIS: The event began on Thursday (28 July) with a 30 mile inshore race in the Solent between the mainland and the Isle of Wight. The United Kingdom was defending the title but it was the American boat Bay Bea that showed the strength of the U.S. challenge. The other main contenders were the former holders from West Germany.
Thursday's inshore event was being followed by a race across the Channel to the French coast over the weekend. After that came two further inshore races and the climax of the competition involving a testing endurance race to the Fastnet Rock off the coast of the Republic of Ireland and back to the port of Plymouth.
Each of the nineteen countries taking part in the Admiral's Cup has sent its three best teams to take part in the competition. Among the last to arrive were the three teams from Poland, who sailed their yachts into Cowes harbour on the Isle of Wight late in the afternoon of the day before the opening race.
Entries are restricted to yachts in the one-ton class and the Admiral's Cup is regarded as the top race of its kind in the world. The United Kingdom won the competition the last time it was held two years ago but aside from West Germany and the Americans, teams from Italy, France and Australia were highly rated for this year's event. Hong Kong, with Vanguard, entering for the third time, was another strong contender.
At the end of the day the English yacht Moonshine was first in the overall ratings, although Bay Bea of the U.S. crossed the finishing line first.