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On 22 September 2001 the 8 yachts of the race crossed the start line at Cowes - South Britain, towards one of the most ambitious races, known in the past as "The Whitbread". Among the participants we find famous names like: Grand Dalton, Gunnar Krantz, Knut Frostad and women's crew skipered by: Lisa McDonald. For Lisa it was four minutes of torment: no sooner had Prince Andrew fired the gun off Cowes, signaling the start of the Volvo Ocean Race, than Amer Sports Too's spinnaker tore from side to side.

In the 240 seconds it took the women to prevent the damaged sail from sliding over the side and around the rudder, haul it back onboard, set up a replacement and hoist it, their seven rivals had powered up and gone. Bows aimed down the Solent and at Cape Town, 7,350 miles away. To add frustration to heartache, they then had to punch through the churned-up water of the spectator fleet.

At 16:00 Hrs, just an hour after the start, the leaders sped past the Needles, reaching hard under asymmetrical spinnakers in the 15 knot north-easterly. Though Gunnar Krantz's SEB was first off the start, it ceded the lead to Grant Dalton's Amer Sports One, with Knut Frostad's Djuice third. After a fast start down the channel the fleet reached the light winds of the North Atlantic Doldrums. After fortnight of frustrating slow progress. It is reported that the five leading yachts are trough the Doldrums and making an average of 9 knots towards the equator.

We will continue to report on the event within the next days . . .


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