“The Race” Preps Underway

New Year’s Eve 2000 sailing event will capture the world’s attention

With the start of The Race - a non-stop circumnavigation of the world - still months away, there is every sign that the spectacle of eight or nine of the "super-cats" racing across the world's oceans at speeds of up to 40 knots will grip the imagination of even the most vehement landlubber.

The Race starts in Barcelona at midnight on New Year's Eve, and also finishes there. Web technology and digital satellite television promise to make hour-by-hour coverage of The Race possible even from the empty wastes of the Southern Ocean, thousands of miles from the nearest land.

On the evidence so far, what may be more of a problem will be keeping these extraordinarily powerful craft in one piece for long enough to avoid shipwreck and multiple loss of life. At least half of The Race will be sailed in waters where there are no lifeboats or Sea King helicopters. A capsize or hull failure in these circumstances would be far more than a diverting media circus.

Steve Fossett, the multi-millionaire balloonist and adventurer, was the first to launch a multihull aimed at winning The Race. His 33-metre Play Station, part-funded by Sony, has been sailing since the middle of last year following construction in Auckland.

Source: Financial Times (London)


DATE: 5/4/2000

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