1997–1998 Whitbread Round the World Race

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Whitbread Round the World Race
Event Title
YachtsWhitbread 60
WinnerEF Language

The 1997–98 Whitbread Round the World Race was the seventh edition of the around-the-world sailing event Whitbread Round the World Race. The Whitbread Round the World Race ran for the first time with all W60 boats and to a "points vs time" (instead of aggregate leg time) scoring system to enhance the value of the shorter race legs.

Also, in an effort to attract additional media coverage, the Whitbread race committee divided the race into no less than 9 legs for the 1997 to 1998 race, therefore increasing the number of ports visited.

Volvo had its first major association with the race in 1997 to 1998 by sponsoring the trophy (thus the race was officially known as the Whitbread 'round the world race for the Volvo Trophy) and some of the media coverage. For the first time running to W60-only specification, this year's Whitbread attracted just 10 entries—the fewest to date.


Boat Nation Designer Skipper
America's Challenge  United States Alan Andrews United States Ross Field
Brunel Sunergy  Netherlands Judel/Vrolijk Netherlands Roy Heiner
Chessie Racing  United States Farr Yacht Design United States George Collins
EF Education  Sweden Farr Yacht Design France Christine Guillou
EF Language  Sweden Farr Yacht Design United States Paul Cayard
Innovation Kvaerner  Norway Farr Yacht Design Norway Knut Frostad
Merit Cup  Monaco Farr Yacht Design New Zealand Grant Dalton
Silk Cut  United Kingdom Farr Yacht Design United Kingdom Lawrie Smith
Swedish Match  Sweden Farr Yacht Design Sweden Gunnar Krantz
Toshiba  United States Farr Yacht Design United States Dennis Conner
United Kingdom Paul Standbridge

America's Challenge[edit]

Led by Neil Barth and skippered by Ross Field, the team bought Yamaha before building America’s Challenge.[1] The team struggled for funding and withdrew from the race in Cape Town.[2][3] The crew included a group of New Zealanders, including Jared Henderson, and the UK's Matthew Humphries.

Brunel Sunergy[edit]

Skippered for the first six legs by Hans Bouscholte, the crew included Gerald Rogivue and Peter van Niekerk. Because of bad results, Hans Bouscholte was replaced by the Team director Roy Heiner in the last three legs.[4]

Chessie Racing[edit]

Skippered by 57-year-old George Collins, the crew included John Kostecki, Juan Vila, Gavin Brady and Ken Read.[5]

EF Education and EF Language[edit]

EF Language was skippered by Paul Cayard and included a core crew from his AmericaOne challenge for the 2000 America's Cup.[5] Lawrie Smith was originally intended to lead the boat, until transferring to Silk Cut. The crew included Steven Erickson and Magnus Olsson

The team's second boat, EF Education, had an all-female crew and was led by French woman Christine Guillou and included Isabelle Autissier. Leslie Egnot joined the crew on leg 4.[5]

Kvaerner Innovation[edit]

Skippered by Knut Frostad, the crew included Marcel van Triest, Ross Halcrow, Tony Rae, Ed Baird, Torben Grael and Pierre Mas.

Merit Cup[edit]

Merit Cup was a Monaco flagged boat skippered by Grant Dalton. One of only two team's that built two boats, the crew included watch captain Kevin Shoebridge, Ian Stewart, Mike Sanderson, Jeremy Lomas, Dirk de Ridder, Ray Davies and Mike Quilter.[5]

Silk Cut[edit]

Led by Lawrie Smith, Silk Cut was the last boat in the fleet designed by Bruce Farr. The crew included Jez Fanstone, Neil Graham, Gordon Maguire, Neal McDonald, Jan Dekker and Stu Bannatyne.[5]

Swedish Match[edit]

Swedish Match was skippered by Gunnar Krantz and included Roger Nilson and Erle Williams.[5] Matthew Humphries joined the crew following the withdrawal of America's Challenge.


Led by Dennis Conner and Paul Standbridge, Toshiba was originally skippered by Chris Dickson but Dickson was fired after Leg 1.[6] Other crew members included Ross MacDonald, Murray Ross, Chris Ward, Alan Smith and Kelvin Harrap.

The crew had 13 Whitbread and 28 America's Cup campaigns between them.[5]


Event Start date Start Finish Distance (nmi)
Leg 1 21 September 1997 United Kingdom Southampton South Africa Cape Town 7,340
Leg 2 11 November 1997 South Africa Cape Town Australia Fremantle 4,600
Leg 3 13 December 1997 Australia Fremantle Australia Sydney 2,250
Leg 4 4 January 1998 Australia Sydney New Zealand Auckland 1,270
Leg 5 1 February 1998 New Zealand Auckland Brazil São Sebastião 6,670
Leg 6 14 March 1998 Brazil São Sebastião United States Fort Lauderdale 4,750
Leg 7 19 April 1998 United States Fort Lauderdale United States Baltimore 870
Leg 8 3 May 1998 United States Baltimore France La Rochelle 3,390
Leg 9 22 May 1998 France La Rochelle United Kingdom Southampton 450


Leg 1
United Kingdom
South Africa
Leg 2
South Africa
Leg 3
Leg 4
New Zealand
Leg 5
New Zealand
Leg 6
United States
Leg 7
United States
United States
Leg 8
United States
Leg 9
United Kingdom
EF Language 125 72 105 70 135 101 81 55 92 836
Merit Cup 110 48 70 105 78 66 50 66 105 698
Swedish Match 36 125 92 60 91 89 92 44 60 689
Innovation Kvaerner 97 110 60 40 65 77 70 33 81 633
Silk Cut 84 84 40 50 26
115 60 101 70 630
Chessie Racing 72 60 81 81 105 55 40 89 30 613
Toshiba 60 97 50 92 0
44 20
115 50 528
Brunel Sunergy 12 24 30 30 119 33 105 22 40 415
EF Education 24 36 20 20 26
22 30 77 20 275
America's Challenge 0


  1. ^ "Whitbread 60 "Challenger" Whitbread Round the World Race | Miramar Sailing".
  2. ^ Volvo Ocean Race: History 1997–1998 – Leg 2
  3. ^ "Spartan Ocean Racing - Race Yacht Charter". www.spartanoceanracing.com. Archived from the original on 29 September 2016.
  4. ^ "16609 Text Pages_il.qxd" (PDF). Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "A Whitbread wake-up call". Yachting. 1 October 1997 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ Volvo Ocean Race: History 1997–1998

External links[edit]