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EDITIONS
 Monday, 6 January, 2003, 10:14 GMT
Killer whales visit teen sailor
Seb Clover
Seb Clover is racing his own father across the Atlantic
The schoolboy attempting to become the youngest Transatlantic sailor looks set to be beaten to dry land by his own father.

Rig problems have dashed Seb Clover's hopes of closing the gap on his father, Ian, in their single-handed yacht race.

The setback comes as the 15-year-old, from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, spent an unnerving two hours in the company of three killer whales.

Seb, who set out from Tenerife on Thursday, 19 December, now has 822 miles to go against his father's 744 in the 2,700-mile challenge.

What really impresses me is how he has dealt with some major rig problems and is still out there batting.

Ian Clover, Seb's father
Seb, who has been training for the race since he was 12, said: "The whales are pretty unnerving but it's the rig problems that are much more fundamental to the race.

"My priority is now to keep my mast standing and to get to the finish as fast as I can without pushing the boat too hard.

"Unless my dad has problems that slow him down significantly, he will probably be pushing harder than me meaning that it'll be very difficult to catch him up.

"While I don't think I'm out of it, I have to accept that my priorities have changed."

Seb Clover
Seb has been in training since he was 12
Ian, who was also visited by a pod of six killer whales, said: "While it will be difficult for Seb to catch up, there is still 700 miles or so to go, in which an awful lot can happen.

"What really impresses me is how he has dealt with some major rig problems and is still out there batting.

"However, the race is not over until one or other of us crosses the finish line and even if Seb comes in after me, he will still set a world record as the youngest sailor ever to race across the Atlantic single-handed."

Seb and Ian are sailing on identical Contessa 32ft yachts, called Reflection and Xixia.

The race is expected to finish at English Harbour, Antigua, on or around 10 January, 2003.


Click here to go to Southampton
See also:

03 Jan 03 | England
24 Dec 02 | England
19 Dec 02 | England
12 Dec 02 | England
23 Nov 02 | Sailing
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