Hampshire & Isle of Wight

British sailor sets off in Velux 5 Oceans global race

Chris Stanmore-Major on board his yacht, Spartan
Image caption Chris Stanmore-Major is among five solo sailors in the Velux 5 Oceans

An Isle of Wight yachtsmen has set off in a solo round the world ocean race in a bid to land a British win for the first time in more than 40 years.

Chris Stanmore-Major, 33, from Cowes, is among five taking part in the Velux 5 Oceans race off La Rochelle in France.

He began the 29,000-mile (46,671km) race, in perfect weather conditions on board his 60ft (18m) boat Spartan.

The voyage is Mr Stanmore-Major's first solo effort.

No Briton has managed a win in a solo race around the world since Sir Robin Knox-Johnston came first in the Golden Globe in 1969.

"I'm very confident. The primary objective is to win and getting around the world is part of the winning," he said.

'Very confident'

"The objective is for a Briton to win a solo round the world race. It's interesting that for such a strong maritime country we have not won a solo race for so long."

He then joked that the name of his boat reflected the state of his bank account.

The fleet of five competing yachts will first sail to Cape Town in South Africa followed by Wellington in New Zealand, Salvado in Brazil and Charleston in South Carolina before returning to La Rochelle in June 2011.

The four other skippers taking part are American Brad Van Liew, Belgian Christophe Bullen, Canadian Derek Hatfield and Zbigniew Gutkowski from Poland.

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