Around Alone stops and dates

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston confirms the route of this year's singlehanded round the world race
At London Boat Show today Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Race Chairman of Around Alone - the singlehanded round the world race with stopovers - is to announce the finalised dates and stopover ports of this the 20th anniversary of the race (formerly the BOC Challenge). Around Alone 2002 is to start from Newport, Rhode Island on Sunday 15 September 2002 and for the first time will kick off with a transatlantic leg. The first stopover will be on British shores at Brixham Marina, in Torbay, Devon. The New Zealand stopover has yet to be confirmed, although Wellington is the most likely candidate as Auckland, although the preferred port of call, will be midway through the America's Cup at the time and it would be impossible to berth the 28 registered competitors in the City of Sails at that time. Around Alone's owner and organiser Clipper Ventures, have been looking at the speed of the boats likely to take part and are anticipating that they will be a good deal quicker than the last event in 1998. "Technology in the design of these open boats, the advances made to sails and information on routing means boats are faster and average speeds reflect this. We have reduced the overall time of Around Alone by nearly a month," commented Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. "The schedule is challenging, but speeds in recent races have shown it to be perfectly possible and we remain conscious of costs of the fleet in long stopovers and have thus reduced stopover times in each port, whilst still allowing for boat repairs to be carried out in time for the start of the following leg." However Knox-Johnston says that the vagaries of weather en route that can affect predicted arrival dates and so the exact start dates of legs 2 and