The first boats in the Whitbread Round the World race began arriving in the Brazilian capital of Rio de Janeiro at the weekend (28-29 January).
GV EXT Yacht Great Britain II, sailing in. (2 shots)
SCU Crew assembling sails. (2 shots)
SV Yacht cruising
SV PULL BACK TO GV stationary boat.
SV People on jetty
SV Yachts in harbour
SCU Great Britain II entering harbour with bikini-clad crew member aboard.
SV Man tying yacht. (3 shots)
CU Robert James, skipper, seated.
SV Crew seated, having champagne toast.
Starting date of the last leg has not yet been decided. But the organisers hope the yachts will sail into Portsmouth in early April.
Initials VS 18.30
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Background: The first boats in the Whitbread Round the World race began arriving in the Brazilian capital of Rio de Janeiro at the weekend (28-29 January). Two days after the Pen Duick VI, of France, which has been provisionally disqualified, Great Britain II sailed into harbour to a great welcome.
SYNOPSIS: The British vessel, a 77 ft ketch, completed the third leg by crossing the finishing line just before midday local time on Saturday (28 January). Great Britain II may take line honours if a provisional disqualification of Pen Duick VI is upheld. The disqualification, because of doubts about its skipper's racing certificate, is subject to revision.
The 18 crew members of the British yacht each paid GBP4,000 (about 7,900 dollars) to charter it for the race. Sixteen of them are amateurs.
Shortly after Great Britain II arrived, along came the 77-foot British sloop Heath's Condor. The fourth boat in was the Dutch entry, Flyer. Smaller vessels among the 16 yachts that sailed from Auckland, New Zealand, the day after Christmas on the 7,400-mile (11,840 kilometre) run to Rio were bunched some three or four days behind the leaders.
This is the third time Great Britain II owned by Britain's Chay Blyth-has raced around the world. She was three days faster to Cape Town, South Africa, on the first leg than she had been in the race four years ago. This time, her passage across the southern oceans and up to Rio and also three days faster.
The crew have skipper Robert James to thank for this performance. They were bubbling with confidence as they prepared for the final leg -- back to England.