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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Whitbread Boats Break Round-World Records

SOUTHAMPTON, England -- Chris Dickson's Whitbread 60, Tokio, won a spectacular sprint finish to the nine-month Whitbread round the world yacht race Friday, edging Winston and Yamaha in a dash to the finish line. New Zealand Endeavor, the leading Maxi, was set to come home fourth with all four yachts easily smashing the previous record time for the 7,025-kilometer sixth and final leg from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Tokio, with New Zealander Dickson as captain, was first to cross the finish line at the port where the race started last September. Winston, skippered by American Brad Butterworth, was arriving some 45 minutes behind and Yamaha, another W60 with New Zealander Ross Field at the helm, only 30 minutes further back. The result would mean Yamaha would win the overall title in the W60 class. New Zealand Endeavor remained the overall race leader and was expected to smash the record the 59,000-kilometer race which it arrived around 5 P.M. Friday. Steinlager 2, another New Zealand yacht, sailed the distance in 128 days, nine hours, 40 minutes four years ago, while Endeavor, was due to finish in less than 121 days. Strong winds caused by low pressure over the English Channel set up the close finish. The leading four were set to beat by over four days the 17 days and 28 minutes leg record set by 1989-90 winner Steinlager 2. As the yachts passed Lands End, only 120 miles from the finish, only two miles separated the three leading Whitbread 60s, Tokio, Yamaha and Winston, clocking up speeds of over 20 knots. The Odessa/Moscow Times Challenge, a Whitbread 60 boat sponsored in part by the Moscow Times, was expected to cross the finish line about 3 A.M. Monday, ahead of one or possibly two other yachts in the last leg of the race. (AP, MT)