November 8, 2005

Sailing-Three racing yachts capsize in Atlantic

LONDON (Reuters) - British and French rescuers scrambled on
Tuesday to reach the crews of three yachts which capsized in
"ferocious" conditions during an Atlantic race.

A spokesman for Britain's Royal Air Force said it received
a distress warning around 0300 GMT from one yacht which had
capsized, leaving its two crew members clinging to the
overturned hull, west of the Bay of Biscay.

A second yacht has lost its mast and a third has capsized.

The yachts were part of a 34-strong fleet racing from
France to Brazil.

The RAF said it had scrambled a helicopter and a Nimrod
search and rescue aircraft which had been joined by two French
rescue helicopters, a French warship and several merchant

The spokesman described the conditions as ferocious with
60-knot winds and a very rough sea.