History 1981-82



Portsmouth - Cape Town - Auckland - Mar del Plata - Portsmouth

Cornelis van Rietschoten / NED
Elapsed time
Corrected time
Swan 65 / German Frers


  • Cornelis van Rietschoten won the race for a second time in spite of suffering a heart attack on Leg 2, which was kept secret from the rest of the fleet.
  • Flyer was the fastest round the world, winning every leg on elapsed time as well as winning overall on corrected time.
  • It was the first time a boat had claimed both prizes.
  • It is the record number of entries (29) for the race to date.
  • Charles Heidseick III made four Atlantic crossings before taking part in the third Whitbread.
  • Peter Blake skippered his own boat, Ceramco, for the first time.
  • Three boats were dismasted on Leg 1 and 21 of the 29 entries reported damage of some kind.
  • Vivanapoli was boarded by an Angolian gunboat 150 nm off the coast of Africa. The crew was arrested and taken to Luanda. It took the Italian ambassador seven days to secure the release of the crew and the yacht, which arrived eight days after the start of Leg 2.
  • Connie Van Rietschoten suffered a heart attack and fell unconscious on Leg 2. The emergency was kept secret so as not reveal a weakness to their nearest competitors.
  • Charles Heidsieck III had a 92-hour buffer over Flyer going into the final leg, but Flyer still won.
    Nine boats did not complete the course.
  • Nine were dismasted.
Podium positions (on corrected time)
Flyer (119:01:12:48)
Charles Heidsieck III (120:07:55:29)
Kriter IX (120:10:50:26)


Leg 1
Leg 2
Leg 3
Leg 4
Portsmouth - Cape Town
Cape Town - Auckland
Auckland - Mar del Plata
Rio de Janeiro - Portsmouth
26,095 nm
29 boats


Kriter IX
Ceramco New Zealand
Mor Bihan
Ceramco New Zealand

Leg 1

Portsmouth to Cape Town

Of the 29 entries, 21 reported damage of some kind on the first leg and three yachts, Ceramco New Zealand, La Barca Laboratorio and RollyGo were dismasted.  Giorgio Falck started the race at the helm of RollyGo, but left at Las Palmas due to a family illness. Reino Enqvist, skipper of Scandinavian, radioed race headquarters to say he was retiring due to rigging, electrical and radio problems onboard.

Ceramco New Zealand, broke her mast in two places, but finished under jury rig ahead of nine of the 27 boats that completed the leg after sailing and additional 1,500 nm to keep with tail winds. FCF Challenger split her mast, Norway's Berge Viking broke the fitting at the top of her forestay, Alaska Eagle broke hull frames and European University Belgium damaged her rigging. Save Venice also had problems with her forestay and United Friendly sprang a serious leak.

Italian entry Vivanapoli finished Leg 1 eight days after Leg 2 had started after she was boarded by an Angolan gunboat. The crew was arrested on suspicion of spying and it took the Italian ambassador a week to secure their release. They were too late to sail on and re-joined the race in Mar del Plata.

First across the Cape Town finish was Connie Van Rietschoten in Flyer with a margin of 52 hours ahead of the second boat Charles Heidsieck III.

Leg 2

Cape Town to Auckland

Within 14 days of the start, 33 Export, Licor 43 and European University Belgium had all dismasted and Flyer was forced to slow after two violent broaches in the Southern Ocean weakened the rigging. 33 Export was shipped to Marseille from the French Kerguelen Islands, while the other two made for Tasmania before re-joining the race in Auckland.

Ceramco, heading for her homeport, set the bar high with a 24-hour run of 316 miles on November 6, a Whitbread record, but still they could not shake off Flyer. Divulge an inch and the competition will grab a mile, was the mantra of Flyer’s Connie Van Rietschoten, so when he suffered a heart attack and fell unconscious, the emergency was kept secret.

As the leading pair headed south into Auckland, they encountered strong headwinds, which favoured the bigger and heavier Flyer. A small lead was turned into an eight-hour advantage giving the Dutch boat her second win in two legs. The Auckland welcome for Flyer was warm, but that for the hometown boat, Ceramco New Zealand and skipper Peter Blake, even though it was not then known that she would win the leg on corrected time, was stupendous.

Leg 3

Auckland to Mar del Plata

Twenty-three boats were left to contest Leg 3. For much of the time, Flyer and Ceramco New Zealand were in sight of each other and on four occasions, they crossed each other’s paths. The two were neck-and-neck as they rounded Cape Horn, with just 30 minutes or five nautical miles separating them. On standby, as expected, was HMS Endurance, but a more sinister sight was a fleet of Argentinean warships on an espionage mission ahead of the invasion of the Falklands which came some weeks later.

Bubblegum retired from the leg after losing her rudder 250 nm from Cape Horn. She made way with a jury system until towed by a Chilean warship to Punta Arenas. A new rudder was flown out and she re-joined the race in Mar del Plata.

Flyer was first to cross the finish after 24 days at sea. Ceramco followed seven hours later. Euromarché was third, a day later.   At this stage, Charles Heidsieck III, having finished Leg 4 fourth on elapsed time, was winning the Whitbread with only one more leg to go.

Leg 4

Mar del Plata to Portsmouth

Though the third leg had fewer finishers than any other leg of the race, the two Italian early retirements were already in Mar del Plata, so 24 boats contested the final leg back to the UK.

Flyer needed to cross the Solent finish line 92 hours ahead of Charles Heidsieck III to win overall, and the Azores High played into the Connie van Rietschoten’s hands.

The two leading boats, Flyer and Ceramco, sailed around the high pressure, but Charles Heidsieck III and Kriter IX had the brakes applied. When Charles Heidsieck III eventually arrived at the finish line, the crew of Flyer had already been there for almost five days. The margin gave Flyer 19-hour advantage and victory in the race for the second consecutive time. A fourth line honours win in four legs meant Van Rietschoten had also fulfilled his aim of being the fastest boat around the course, carving 14 days off the race record.

Of the original 29 starters, only 24 were still in contention during the final leg. Les Williams in FCF Challenger lost a mast – the 10th dismasting of the race – and the crew of La Barca Laboratorio was forced to pump after their keel bolts started to fall out and a lifeboat was called to stand by.

Ceramco notched up a second leg win on handicap. Her dismasting in Leg 1 had effectively ruled her out of title contention, but the way Blake kept his crew motivated to complete the circuit at breakneck speed was an inspiration for a whole new generation of Whitbread race skippers.

Crews 1981-82

Sailor by team


Joe Allen, Patrick Antelme, Bill Biewanga, Warwick Buckley, Grant Dalton, Edgardo Fischer, Julian Fuller, Stephen Harrison, George Hendy, Roger Janes, Edgar Koekebakker, Charles Russell, Pickthall Dirk, Reidel Onne van der Wal, Cornelis van Rietschoten, John Vitali, Erle Williams, Daniel Wloszczowski

Charles Heidseck III

André Berenger, Domino Callahand, Bruno Champly, François Claude, Olivier Despaigne, Vincent Devictor, Alain Gabbay, Jacques Laine, Eric Letrosne, Claude Lovera, Marty Pascal, Dominique Pipat, Baron Joel Piquemal, Mario Zimmerman

Kriter IX

Gilles Berthelin, Jean-Louis Fabry, Josslin Huet, Finn Johansen, Yves Parent, Yves Pelé, Dirk Rens, Michel Santander, Marc Vallin, Michel Vanek, André Viant, Bénédicte Lunven Viant, Françoise Viant, Jean-Michel Viant, Sylvie Viant, Patrick Viant

Disque d’Or III

Xavier Borruat, Philippe Cardis, Pierre Fehlmann, Martin Ingold, Jean-Jacques Laeser, Peter Muller, Robin Peter, Francis Reinhard, Rene Rochas, Gerald Rogivue, Eddy Rothlisberger, Gibert Rumo, Jerome Tschudi, Christophe Venthey, Dominique Wavre

Outward Bound

Godfrey Cray, Richard Dinsdale, Terence Flynn, Brian Hancock, Michael Keeton, Anthony Paine, Matthew Smith, Digby Taylor, Dale Tremain, Richard Wheeler

Xargo III

Michael Bastenie, Tony Bertram, Geoffrey Boerne, David Bongers, Bernard Challis, D. De Valero-Willis, Russell A. Hide, Mike Kuttel, Padda Kuttel, Cameron Lanceley, Nicholas Lewis, Ingo Meier, Debbie Scaling, Paul Standbridge, Arthur Radford

Mor bihan

Jean-François Amalric, Jean-François Coste, Pascal Gateau, Gabriel Guilly, Etienne Julien, Christophe Le Garff, Jean Le Menec, Halvard Mabire, Philippe Poupon, Eugene Riguidel, Eric Vassard

Berge Viking

Espen Aker, Nils-Peter Aspestrand, Caspar Brochmann, Finn Eckbo, Kaj Haagensen, Petter Hagelund, Stig Hatlo, Erik Hodne, Jan Jensen, Morten Kolflaath, Claus Landmark, Jon Landmark, Jon Langeland, Yngve Larsson, Gustavo Lie, Hakon Lie, Peder Lunde, Kjell Myrann, Erik Otterstad, C Thommessen

Alaska Eagle

Ted Allison, Chris Barker, Hans Bauer, Neil Bergt, François Bessieres, Alejandre Bulajich, George De Neef, Michael Farley, Greg Gillette, Kim Hanlon, Mark McCloskey, Roger Nilson, Skip Novak, Nicolas Cortes-Petersen, Richard Seay, Bob Thompson


Jean-Luc Bale, Alain Collett, Yvon Daniel, Jean-Marc De Schotten, Jean le Cam, Yves Le Cornec, Yann Le Nabour, Jean-Gabriel Nucci, Antoine Ortholan, Dominique Pipat, Pierre Seigneurin, Éric Tabarly, Jean Totot, Charles Veillard-Baron, Sylvain Vergnot

Ceramco NZ

Trevor Agnew, Peter Blake, Keith Chapman, Donald England, Simon Gundry, Richard Macalister, John Newton, Owen Rutter, Geoff Stagg, Paul von Zalinski, Richard White, Donald Wright

Skopbank of Finland

Marco Bremer, Leif Ekman, Kenneth Gahmberg, Stefan Gahmberg, Harry Harkimo, Bernt Hartwell, Timo Huttunen, Tapio Lehtinen, Aimo Mattila, Matti Salo, Markku Wiikeri


Bruno Bacilieri, Matteo Caglieris, Giorgio Falck, Giovanni Falck, Guido Grugnola, Andrea Henriquet, Stefano Maida, Jacopo Marchi, Paolo Martinoni, Jerome Poncet, Paolo Pottolini, Pierluigi Riches, Angelo Romanengo, Enrico Sala, Pierre Sicouri, Giovanni Verbini, Gigi Vivcava

Traité de Rome

Donal Browne, Marco Carpi, Antonio Chioatto, John Coleman, Gerard Garcia, Burkhard Gerling, Philippe Hanin, Palle Hemdorff, Marc Lubken, Vincent Moeyersoms, Richard Morgan, Wilfrid Polome, Gaye Sarma, Stig Sorensen, Aris Ziros


Jan Blomme, Jan Bourgois, Yves de Comimck, Philippe De Troy, Ann Lippens, William Lippens, Gustaaf Versluys, Andries Zwaenepoel

FCF Challenger

David Alan Williams, Brian Bennett, Colin Berry, John Birchenough, Tim Burrell, Dennis Claus, Gordon Farthing, Joanne Fishman, Chris Harvey, Warwick Jones, Michael Mason, Monica McCants, Ray Pogson, Jacques Redon, Jeremy Samuels, Ivor South, Adrianus Swagemakers, Bruce Valentine, Clive Vaughan, Donald Wilks, Gareth Williams, Leslie Williams, Anthony Wills, Aris Ziros

United Friendly

Chay Blyth, Terry Bray, Christopher Cann, Martin Cowell, Theresa Griffiths, Tony Gutteridge, Marc Hodder, Jeffrey Houlgrave, Philip Hyde, Tim Johnson, Christopher Mayers, Nicholas Mott, Simon Murray-Smith, Marc Robinson, Rupert Smalley, Petter Sundt, Graham Tongue, Paul Tremewan, Cecelia Unger, David Whittles, Paul Yeadon

Walross III Berlin

Heinz Aping, Gisela Bunck, Carsten Clauss, Andreas Drechsler, Wolfgang Freitag, Ekhart Hahn, Hans-Bernard Kawerau, Joachim Lücht, Christian Masilge, Olaf Michel Per Gunnar, Pehle Claus, Reichardt Hans Roth, Claus Schäfer, Hans-Christoph Schimmelpfennig, Anke Schulz, Adolf Straub, Burkhart Zipfel

Licor 43

Jorge Brufau, Joaquín Coello, Jacimo Criado, Francisco Fernández, Tomas Gallart, Santiago García Gascon, Antonio Guiu, Sotero Gumerret, Rafael Mbau, José Mora, Fernando Muñoz, Joaquín Quero, Juan Ramos, Luis Vial y de Vial


Gianroberto Anelli Monti, Daniele Arrigo, Alessandro Bezzola, Yves Dubos, Gianfranco Gabaldo, Bernard Horeau, Gianfrancesco Leati, Stefano Maida, François Mallard, Roberto Ravelli, Giuseppe Sanna, Roberto Vianello


Steven Battley, Peter Cameron, Nicolas Cortes Petersen, Kevin Dakin, Angus Fyfe, Federico Grunewald, Mark Hejl, Bernard Horeau, Gordon Irving, Frederick Leclere, Ian McGowan-Fyfe, Philip Taylor

European University Belgium

Jean Vincent Blondiou, Mark Cashen, Philip Gadey, Luc Heymans, Olivier Kerkhofs, Eric Lenz, Johan Lepoutrem Jacques Pirlet, Bruno Regout

33 Export

Christien Cavalier, Bertrand Costey, Daniel Dupont, Mark Gardener, Alain Havelange, Thibault Le Fournier, Thomas Philippe, Michael Priou, Serge Samuel, Philippe Schaff

Gauloises III

Jean-François Amalric, Nicolas Angel, Dominique Bourgeois, Gael de Kertangat, Olivier Fourment, François Jallat, Etienne Julien, Bernard Le Boette, Thierry Ledoux, Yves Le Gad, Eric Loizeau, Jacques Saada, Eric Vassard

La Barca Laboratorio

Gerad Auvray, Eric Bardaille, Andrea Bruno, Frederic Buffin de Chosal, Maniacco Diego, Marco Diena, Oliosi Fabio, Massimo Maffezzini, Marco Mo Marco Morrosini, Austin Perera, Fernando Peres, Narberto Ramacciotti, Dante Salamon, Claudio Stampi

Save Venice

Marco Adriani, Matteo Caglieris, Donald Crighton, Timothy Fleming, Doi Malingri di Bagnolo, Marco Pace, Corrdo Pahor, Alfonso Santori

Swedish Entry

Bjoru Alm, Hans Bauer, Hans Bjornstrom, Mogens Bugge, Nils Ekmark, Jan Friberg, Kiell Granberg, Bengt Jorustedt, Matthew Lawrence, Anders Odelberg, Peder Silfverhielm, Wilhelm von Kuskull


Andrea Bruzzone, Carlo Degiorgis, Gian Del Bono, Marco Galzenati, Roberto Kramar, Marina Menghi, Philippe Monnet, Antonio Nappi, Alfonso Palombo, Beppe Panada, Vincenzo Rocco, Giovanni Romano, Janus Tahir, Leonardo Testa, Rosario Agosti