History 1985-86



Portsmouth - Cape Town - Auckland - Punta del Este - Portsmouth

L’Esprit d’Equipe
Lionel Péan / FRA
Elapsed time
Corrected time
Philippe Briand 58’ sloop


  • It was the first time a boat that had already competed in the race before (33 Export 1981-82) L’Esprit d’Equipe became the overall winner of the Whitbread Trophy.
  • It was the first time France had won the race.
  • L’Esprit d’Equipe carried the smallest crew with only eight crewmembers.
  • Each of the 15 entries was fitted with an Argos tracking beacon, but they were unreliable.
  • Peter Blake, skipper of Lion New Zealand, was back for the fourth time.
  • Tracy Edwards made her debut as part of the paying crew onboard Bob Salmon’s Norsk Data GB and then, from Cape Town onwards, Atlantic Privateer.
  • Atlantic Privateer dismasted on Leg 1 and retired from the leg.
  • After completing Leg 1, Eric Tabarly and Cote d’Or were penalised one day for every following leg after changing her keel, which was forbidden.
  • It was the first race that the crews spent Christmas Day at sea.
  • Two boats were dismasted.
  • Two boats did not complete the course.
  • Rock star Simon Le Bon’s Drum lost her keel and capsized during the Fastnet Race. The damage was immense but they were able to make the start line.
  • Customs officials with sniffer dogs boarded Drum just minutes after the finish to see whether the rock star had picked up any illegal substances in Uruguay.
  • Atlantic Privateer beat NZI Enterprise into Auckland by two minutes. NZI Enterprise was dismasted shortly into the third leg and retired from the race.
  • HRH The Princess of Wales presented the Whitbread Trophy.
Podium positions (on corrected time)
L’Esprit d’Equipe (111:23:09:49)
Philips Innovator (112:21:31:37)
Fazer Finland (115:00:49:10)


Leg 1
Leg 2
Leg 3
Leg 4
Portsmouth - Cape Town
Cape Town - Auckland
Auckland - Punta del Este
Punta del Este - Portsmouth
26,095 nm
15 boats


L’Esprit d’Equipe
Philip’s Innovator
L’Esprit d’Equipe
L’Esprit d’Equipe

Leg 1

Portsmouth to Cape Town

The dense fog on the start line set the tone for a typically challenging leg. Conditions swung from one extreme to the other. Southeasterly gales created by the more southerly position of the South Atlantic High turned what should have been a fast reach to Cape Town into a battle against the breeze and a nasty cross sea. The rigid rigging of the maxis and their composite hulls took a beating and Drum diverted towards Namibia because of severe delamination to the hull. The gale blew out, the wind went light and favourable, and the yacht therefore changed course and finished the leg in Cape Town.

Atlantic Privateer dismasted after days of plunging in big seas. A jury rig was stepped in Namibia but that too came down and the crew retired from the leg and motored to the finish. The smaller boats, being up to 1,000 nm behind, missed the storm completely and were able to carry their spinnakers in moderate weather down the coast.

UBS Switzerland and Lion New Zealand crossed the finish line 16 hours apart after 34 days of racing while L’Esprit d’Equipe won the leg on corrected time.

Leg 2

Cape Town to Auckland

Eric Tabarly agreed to concede one day per leg as a penalty for replacing his keel on Cote d’Or and the fleet started in light airs much to the crew’s disappointment.

Philips Innovator destroyed her navigation antennae. The problem was thrown into sharp focus when the yacht had a near miss with an outlying island off Kerguelen.

As the fleet rounded Cape Reinga on the run into Auckland, NZI Enterprise and Atlantic Privateer were in front with UBS Switzerland and Lion New Zealand not far behind, though soon after Lion New Zealand slowed with damage to her rudder caused by a collision with a whale.

On the approach to Auckland, the leading pair split. Atlantic Privateer stayed close to the shore while NZI Enterprise went further out. NZI Enterprise moved within half a mile of the leader, but it was Atlantic Privateer who finished first, followed two minutes later by the NZI Enterprise. All 15 yachts completed theleg, which was a race record, but it was the Dutch Phillips Innovator, who posted their first win on handicap, followed closely by L’Esprit d’Equipe.

Leg 3

Auckland to Punta del Este

New Zealand’s Prime Minister David Lange fired the start gun for Leg 3 on February 15, 1986. Three days later, the mast on NZI Enterprise came crashing down, putting an end to Taylor’s campaign. The problems of getting a replacement mast from England proved too difficult and Taylor retired.

The crew of Drum were far happier than when they left Cape Town, believing that their major incidents to the boat were now over. However, the boat was rolled twice on Leg 4 and was knocked down for around five minutes, leaving the spinnaker shredded and a spinnaker bag wrapped round the propeller. Magnus Olsson dived into the freezing waters to solve the problem but he was unconscious when the crew pulled him back on board. He made a full recovery.

Lion New Zealand sighted an iceberg close to starboard at 54 degrees south, estimated to be 1,500 feet long and 300 feet high.   During a spinnaker change in 35 knots of wind, the crew lost control of the new, smaller spinnaker. Ed Danby went aloft to free it at the masthead, but as he was hoisted, his harness unbuckled itself. He saved himself from falling into the sea or crashing to the deck below, by clinging to a spreader. He stayed there in the heavy rolling conditions until another man was hauled up to help him down.

L’Esprit D’Equipe broached and was knocked down, damaging her mast in the process. The crew made elaborate repairs and then watched the repairs in case it broke.

The fleet approached Cape Horn in calm waters, due partially to the start of the race being one month later than previously. UBS Switzerland rounded first.

The UBS Switzerland crew were first over the line, nine hours ahead of Drum and nine hours and 20 minutes before Atlantic Privateer. Behind the maxis, L’Esprit d’Equipe took the leg on corrected time from Equity & Law and regained the overall handicap lead by a margin of nearly five hours.

Leg 4

Punta del Este to Portsmouth

As the final leg unfolded, the big maxis were battling for a win on elapsed time and the rest of the fleet was vying for a podium place on corrected time. Blake, lying second on elapsed time, could only win if UBS Switzerland suffered breakages and Drum, who had come second in Uruguay, was within 18 hours of Lion New Zealand.

UBS Switzerland went east of the Azores High and entered a fast frontal system, while Drum opted to pick up the southerly winds around the back of the High, which slowed them down. With just a few days left, they were becalmed and the gap to the leader stretched to 500 miles, which at the finish line in Portsmouth, translated into a 40-hour deficit.

At the finish, Drum was overtaken by Cote d’Or, who crossed the line three and a half hours ahead. On arrival in Portsmouth customs officers, accompanied by sniffer dogs, boarded Drum just minutes after the finish to see whether the rock star had picked up any illegal substances in Uruguay.

Lion New Zealand and Peter Blake arrived soon after to retain second place overall on elapsed time and the little French boat L’Esprit d’Equipe arrived in eighth place, some four days after UBS Switzerland to take the 1985 Whitbread Trophy.

Crews 1985-86

Sailor by team

L’Esprit d’Équipe

Jean-Pierre Delaby, Daniel Gilard, Yvan Griboval, Daniel Hirsch, Frédéric Leclerc, Eric Lecotteley, Pierre Lorgeré, Serge Maurin, Lionel Péan, Stephane Poughon, Éric Sendra 

Philips Innovator

Ted Allison, Bouwe Bekking, Rinze Botterweg, Stephen Chapman, Palle Hemdorff, John Higham, Frans Hinfelaar, Pierre Baad, Jensen Niels, Kaae Coenraad, Kerbert Rutger, Lokin Gideon Messink, Jeffrey Nadler, Dirk Nauta, Paul Newall, Marc van Dongen, Bert Visser

Fazer Finland

Patrick Andersson, Michael Berner, Otso Brummer, Carl-Johan Lindholm, Carl-Ake Carlsson, Mats Ehrnooth, Peter Fazer, Lars Fellman, Henrik Fenstrom, Markus Mustelin, Ilpo Nikkari, Mika Saksela, Wilhelm von Kuskull, Jan Winquist, Benedict Wrede

UBS Switzerland

Maurice Adatto, Pascal Allamand, Alwin Arnold, Jean-Pierre Baudet, Marc Brugger, Andrea Colombo, Guy Craps, Pierre Fehlmann, Daniel Forster, Andres Gasser Pascal, Girardi Frederic, Isabella Philippe Kropf, Francois Mach, Olivier Marthe, Christian Page, Denis Poffet, Gerald Rogivue, Patrick Schriber, Bernhard Seger, Georges Wagner, Dominique Wavre, Dominique Weibel

Rucanor Tristar

Jan Blomme, Yves de Comimck, Paul D'Hollander, Michel Kleinjans, Koemraad Lasure, Ann Lippens, Edward Maertens, Rudy Puystjens, Piet Smet, Bastiaan van Rijswijk, Gustaaf Versluys, Ian Wittevrongel

Fortuna Lights

Santiago Arlos, Albert Bargués, Jordi Blanch, Jorge Brufau, José Brufau, Antonio Guiu, Jon Inchaustegui, Eugeno Llamas, Héctor López Piqueras, Miguel López Piqueras, Isidro Martí Manolo, Romagosa Caralt, Jesús Tello, Luis Trigueros, Javier Visiers

Lion New Zealand

Guy Beaumont, Peter Blake, Godfrey Cray, Grant Dalton, Ed Danby, Martin Ford, Bob Graham, Simon Gundry, Graeme Handley, Aran Hansen, Ralph Lucas, Paul MacDonald, Roy Mason, Frazer Maxwell, Mike Quilter, Tony Rae, Cole Sheehan, Kevin Shoebridge, Glen Sowry, Grant Spanhake, Andrew Taylor, Paul von Zalinski


Espen Aker, Patrick Banfield, Chris Barker, Phil Barrett, Hans Bauer, Michael Berrow, Paul Berrow, Bill Biewanga, Neil Cheston, Shaun Connolly, Richard Freeman-Cowan, Charles Gates, Janne Gustafsson, Brian Hancock, Chris Hancock, Phil Holland, Jean-Jacques Provoyeur, Simon Le Bon, Roger Nilson, Skip Novak, Magnus Olsson, Micke Olsson, Lawrie Smith, Rick Tomlinson, John Toon, Phil Wade, Mario Zimmerman

Equity & Law

Alastair Mill, Brendan Lyne, Ewout Mante, Guido Beekman, Hein Bloomers, Mark Willett, Peter Metcalfe, Pleun van der Lugt, Ties van Os, Wessel de Fouw

Côte d’Or

Alain Collett, Alain Havelange, André Mechelynck, Éric Tabarly, François Carpente, François Dumont, Halvard Mabire, Henri Van Der Haeghen, Jean-François Coste, Luc Frejacques, Michel Desjoyeaux, Michel Monseu, Olivier Kerkhofs, Pascal Savatier, Richard Van Vereen, Roland Jourdain, Stephane Marcelli, Thierry Rannou, Viannessey Ancellin

Shadow of Switzerland

Alain Wessner, Andrew Freeman, David White, Donal Browne, Graeme Haygarth Herve, Jan Iain, Hudson Jurg Immobersteg, Maurice Veluzat, Nicholas Wigram, Nora Zehender-Müller, Otto Zehender-Müller, Sten-Erik Molander, Stephane Roche

Norsk Data GB

Alan Bruce, Anthony Nicholson, Bob Salmon, Bridget Juniper, Christopher Tibbs, David Kenny, Dean Cook, Euan Belson, Karl Gillette, Keith Crellin, Kenneth Forster, Kent Cassels, Klaus Witting, Maria Steffen, Massimo Casali, Michael Perkins, Neil McDonald, Philip Lovett, Phillippe Nobileau, Rodney Churchill, Ross Norman, Russel Salmon, Scott Perry, Sean Rankin, Susan Kavanagh, Thomas Stolberger, Tim Stephens, Tom Sperry, Tracy Edwards

SAS Baia Viking

Anne Kierulf, Buster Norsk, Eva J. I. Nielsen, Hanne Jorgensen, Henrik-Agner Petersen, Jesper Gram, Jesper Norsk, Jorgen Krogh-Johansen, Klavs Fisher-Hansen, Niels Schakinger-Larsen, Torsten Worre-Sorenson

NZ Enterprise

David West, Digby Taylor, Graham Fleury, Graham Kendall, Grant Jenkins, Gregory Blomfield, Jeremy Scantlebury, John Jourdane, Kendal Law, Kenneth Davies, Mark Hauser, Matthew Smith, Michael Keeton, Murray Ross, Philip Harris, Ross Field, Steve Wilson

Atlantic Privateer

Arthur Radford, David Bongers, Edward W. Kuttel, Erik Soper, Greg Davis, Henri Hiddes, Ian Martin, Jim Lutz, John Martin, Julian Fuller, Kym Morton, Ludde Ingvall, Marco Constant, Michael Bastenie, Padda Kuttel, Paul Standbridge, Peter John Kuttel, Ralph Thomas, Russell A. Hide, Thomas Corness, William Reilly, Shaun Connolly