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banner Thursday, 24 January, 2002, 16:52 GMT
The world's great races
Ellen MacArthur was second in 2000-2001 Vendee Globe in Kingfisher
MacArthur has propelled sailing into the limelight
BBC Sport Online profiles the world's premier yacht races.

Vendee Globe
A non-stop solo round-the-world race held every four years. In 2001, Briton Ellen MacArthur, 24, became the youngest and fastest female to sail round the planet.

MacArthur's Kingfisher took 94 days to race from Les Sables d'Olonne on France's west coast and back, eastabout - east around the world with the prevailing wind.

She was second by just over a day from France's Michel Desjoyeaux.

In 1996, Briton Pete Goss rescued France's Raphael Dinelli and Tony Bullimore survived for several days inside his boat before rescue.

Around Alone (formerly BOC Challenge)
More four-yearly solo round the world sailing, this time with five stopovers. The 1998-1999 version was won by Italian Giovanni Soldini.

America's Cup winner Team NZ
Team NZ defended the America's Cup in 2000

America's Cup/Louis Vuitton Cup
The America's Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport. First raced for around the Isle of Wight in 1851 as the 100 Guinea Cup, it was won by New York Schooner "America".

Subsequently re-named, the Cup was held by the United States for the next 132 years until Alan Bond's Australia II broke the stranglehold in 1983.

It is now considered yachting's equivalent of Formula One, with syndicates spending many millions of pounds on state-of-the art sails and hull designs.

The format is a series of match races between the holders and the winner of the challenger series, the Louis Vuitton Cup which begins in Auckland in October 2002.

GBR Challenge will be the first British entry for 15 years.

Big names: American Dennis Conner has won four times. The late Sir Peter Blake took New Zealand's Black Magic to victory in 1995 and Team NZ in 2000.

Volvo Ocean Race (formerly Whitbread round-the-world race)
Four-yearly east-about lap of the globe with stopovers for professional crews.

The 1997-1998 race was won by American skipper Paul Cayard on EF Language.

EF Language won the 1997-1998 Whitbread
Paul Cayard won the 1997-98 Whitbread on EF Language

Now sponsored by Volvo, the 2001/2002 race comprises eight boats and will finish in Kiel, Germany in June.

Big names: Sir Peter Blake skippered Steinlager 2 to victory in his fifth race in 1998, winning every leg. Kiwi Grant Dalton is competing in his sixth race.

He won in the maxi New Zealand Endeavour in 1993-1994.

The Race
A fully-crewed no-rules non-stop sprint eastabout around the globe for elite sailors and cutting-edge yachts.

Devised by Frenchman Bruno Peyron as a celebration of the Millennium.

Briton's Pete Goss developed Team Phillips, a revolutionary design.

But hampered by problems, the boat was abandoned in the Atlantic after gear failure during sea trials.

Club Med
Grant Dalton's Club Med won The Race

The fleet of six 100-foot-plus catamarans left Barcelona on New Year's Eve 2001, heading for Marseilles via the southernmost tips of Africa, Australia and South America.

Grant Dalton's Club Med won in 62 days 6 hours. Because the race began in Barcelona, Dalton was not eligible for the Jules Verne Trophy.

Jules Verne Trophy
Awarded to the fastest yacht to sail round the world to and from a specfied line off France's west coast.

Record of 71 days 14 hours was set by Frenchman Olivier de Kersauson in his trimaran Sport-Elec in 1997, beating Sir Peter Blake and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston's previous record of 74 days on catamaran ENZA in 1994

Peter Blake and Robin Knox-Johnston's catamaran ENZA
ENZA had the Jules Verne record snatched from it

Ellen MacArthur is assembling a 12-strong crew to mount a fresh a record attempt in 2002.

The last race of the Cowes Week regatta from Cowes, around the Fastnet Rock off Ireland's southern coast and ending in Plymouth.

The 1979 Fastnet was infamous for a severe storm which claimed 17 lives and sank five boats.

Admiral's Cup
Currently defunct biannual event due to be resurrected in Ireland in 2003. The Admirals Cup is a series of inshore and offshore races, sailed in teams.

The 2001 event was called off due to lack of interest and the new event will be scaled down to two-boat teams instead of three, with amateurs to race alongside the pros.

Starts in spectacular style on Sydney harbour every Boxing Day, heading for the capital of Tasmania.

The start of the 2000 Sydney to Hobart yacht race
The Sydney-Hobart was hit by a freak storm in 1998

Open to both amateur sailors and ultra-competitive professional crews.

The 1998 tragedy claimed six lives in a ferocious storm.

Danish yacht Nokia holds the record for the 630 nautical-mile race of one day 19 hours 48 minutes.

BT Global Challenge (formerly British Steel Challenge)
Amateur crews paying for the privilege of racing the wrong way round the world - ie westabout against the prevailing winds.

Devised by Sir Chay Blyth, the first man to sail solo non-stop westabout around the world in his 59-foot British Steel in 1970.

Clipper Ventures
A direct competitor to the BT Global Challenge. Identical boats adopted by a major UK city race over six legs through the Panama canal via Hawaii, Japan, Mauritius Brazil, New York and back to the UK.

Devised by Blyth's arch-rival Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail non-stop around the world with the prevailing wind in 1969, taking 312 days.

Links to more Sailing stories are at the foot of the page.


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