Yachting -- and on the first day of the most gruelling event in Britain's Admirals Cup series, the six-hundred-mile (965 kilometres) Fastnet race, the 300 competitors get off to a slow start.
GV Opening sequence of fastnet Yacht race in Admirals Cup series, Cowes, U.K. - ZOOM IN TO Big Apple of Ireland
CU & PAN DOWN TO Recluta of Argentina
GV Scaramouch of U.S.A.
??? Big Apple
GV Vanguard of Hong Kong
??? Moonshine of U.K.
SV Superstar of Australia
CU Ragamuffin of australia
GV PAN La Pantera of Hong Kong
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Yachting -- and on the first day of the most gruelling event in Britain's Admirals Cup series, the six-hundred-mile (965 kilometres) Fastnet race, the 300 competitors get off to a slow start. The day was overcast with some rain -- but little wind was around to set them on their way.
SYNOPSIS: The fleet sailed out of Cowes harbour towards the Fastnet rock off the south-west Irish coast, with Ireland's Big Apple and her team-mates heading for waters.
Argentina, despite having entries like the well-tried ocean-racer Recluta, was down at tenth place before the Fastnet -- and it was an almost impossible task for it to pull into the lead.
The United States was doing better with boats like Scaramouch, which took first in the Cup's other distance event, the Channel Race. But the outcome of the six or seven day race could ultimately rest on local knowledge -- and with Ireland already in fifth place, Big Apple was in home waters.
Hong Kong was already in third place -- thanks to previous performances by Vanguard.
Britain was in the overall lead with the help of Moonshine, which won the first race of the Admirals Cup series. The United States was lying second only 19 points behind at 631.
Australia's hopes for the Cup were resting on Superstar. She was the best performer of the team in the previous four races, and overtook fellow-countryman Ragamuffin in the opening stages of the Fastnet, the final race in the series.
But Hong Kong, at third with 591 points, was still in strong position to take the race -- and the series. Light winds favoured the design of ??? entries, like La Pantera which only failed to win the Channel Race after a disqualification on challenge. The Winds were light on the first day, and weather forecasts also indicated further moderate conditions -- giving the team fresh hopes.