Omega ambassador Anna Kournikova fired the gun that started The Transat 2004 in Plymouth today in conditions that were great for the skippers in the race but no so much fun for the few keen spectators that ventured out to cheer them on.
Anna enjoyed her first taste of sailing in the morning, on board the Offshore Challenges OMEGA Open 50 with fellow ambassador Ellen MacArthur. Sailing out on open sea beyond the breakwater, Anna looked totally relaxed, a fact which she later confirmed, adding that she was surprised at how sensitive its steering was.
Though she admitted to preferring jetskis, Anna gained her sea legs today on a variety of vessels, including the Open 50 racing yacht, the nippy RIBs that transported her to and fro, the brigantine Swan Fan Makkum (hospitality vessel) and, finally, HMS Tyne - the new Royal Navy offshore patrol vessel on board which she fired the starting gun.
The first winners of the day were Michel Desjoyeaux on the trimaran Geant and Mike Golding on the monohull Ecover, who were the first in their categories to pass the waypoint at the Eddystone Lighthose and win themselves OMEGA Transat watches produced exclusively for the race.
OMEGA is the Official Timekeeper and Principal Partner of The Transat 2004. The first multihull vessels are expected to arrive at the finish in Boston in around 9 days' time.
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