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  Thursday, 28 November, 2002, 15:26 GMT
Sailing: Records tumble
Ellen MacArthur celebrates her Route du Rhum success
MacArthur celebrates another sailing success

The ongoing America's Cup and its challenger series is the Grand Prix of sailing but 2002 also saw the gruelling Volvo Ocean Race and the single-handers' prestigious Route du Rhum.

For the match-racers, Britain's first America's Cup entry for 15 years crashed out of the Louis Vuitton Cup in the quarter-finals.

GBR Challenge, skippered by double Olympic medallist Ian Walker, lost 4-1 to Cup veteran Dennis Conner's Stars and Stripes team.

America's Cup
The British bid finished sixth out of nine teams after two round robin rounds but found they were lacking boat speed to progress further.

Meanwhile, Britain's sailing queen Ellen MacArthur won the Route du Rhum transatlantic race in a record-breaking time in her last competitive event on Kingfisher.

The 26-year-old set a new monohull record of 13 days, 13 hours, 31 minutes, 47 seconds for the passage from St Malo in France to Gaudeloupe in the Caribbean.

The previous best was 15 days, 19 hours, 23 minutes, set by Frenchman Yves Parlier on Cacolac d'Aquitaine in 1994.

Meanwhile, fellow Briton Emma Richards is competing in the Around Alone, a multi-stop solo round-the-world race.

In June, Illbruck clinched the inaugural Volvo Ocean Race after winning four of the nine legs of the four-yearly round-the-world race (formerly the Whitbread).

The German boat, skippered by American John Kostecki, beat Swedish entry Assa Abloy, skippered for eight of the nine legs by Briton Neal MacDonald.

Route du Rhum

Grant Dalton's Amer Sport One was third.

This was also a year when sailing's record breakers were out in force.

In May, Frenchman Bruno Peyron skippered the giant Orange catamaran to a Jules Verne Trophy record - for sailing non-stop round the world.

Orange lapped the planet in 64 days 8 hrs 37 mins at sea, beating the previous mark of 71 days set by France's Olivier de Kersauson in 1997.

British yachtswoman Tracy Edwards, sailing her Maiden II (formerly Club Med), set a 24-hour multihull distance record.

She set a new mark of 697 miles, improving on American Steve Fossett's 2001 best of 687.17 miles.
Volvo Ocean Race

But Fossett hit back in October on the giant multihull PlayStation, snatching back his Round Great Britain and Ireland record by 54 minutes.

Edwards' 120ft catamaran, with Brian Thompson at the helm, earlier circumnavigated in a new best time of four days 17 hours three minutes but Fossett soon regained the record he first set in 1994.

Meanwhile, Britain's Ben Ainslie was voted the men's World Sailor of the Year by the International Sailing Federation.

Ainslie, 25, was honoured for his transition from Olympic Laser gold medallist in Sydney in 2000 to world and European champion in the Finn class less than two years later.

British Olympic Finn gold medallist Iain Percy was another nomination for the award after becoming 2002 Star Class world champion with crewmate Steve Mitchell at their first attempt in California.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
GBR Challenge boss Peter Harrison
"We've had a fantastic amount of success"
Ellen MacArthur
"It was incredibly tough out there"
Illbruck's skipper John Kostecki
"We have a great team"
In-depth look back at a wonderful year of sport

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See also:

23 Nov 02 | Sailing
18 Nov 02 | Sailing
13 Nov 02 | Sailing
25 Oct 02 | Sailing
24 Aug 02 | Sailing
15 Jun 02 | Sailing
06 May 02 | Sailing
09 Jun 02 | Sailing
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