Maxi Alfa Romeo wins Sydney-Hobart sailing race

06 January 2003

Australian maxi Alfa Romeo won the 630-mile Sydney-Hobart sailing race on Saturday when it surfed across the finish line under spinnaker about 20 miles ahead of its nearest challengers.

Sydney-based New Zealand businessman Neville Crichton's carbon fibre boat took about two days and five hours to complete the race down Australia's east coast to the island state of Tasmania.

The sleek gray carbon fibre boat surfed under spinnaker at speeds of up to 18 knots in favourable conditions over the closing stages but still finished well outside the race record of one day 19 hours 48 minutes and two seconds set by Danish flyer Nokia in 1999.

Alfa Romeo led the fleet of 55 yachts out of Sydney Harbour on Thursday and crossed the finish line in the Derwent River at about 6 p.m. (0700 GMT) surrounded by spectator craft.

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