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Japanese wins solo yacht race across Pacific

19810723

TOKYO July 22 (AP via Xinhua) - It was a happy homecoming Tuesday for Fukunari Imada, a native of Osaka who sailed into Sumoto Port near the western Japanese city to beat 10 other sailors in a 10,000-kilometre solo yacht race across the Pacific.

Officials of the Kobe Port Island Fair Association, one of the sponsors of the race, said the 31-year-old yacht store owner had sailed.

The trans-Pacific voyage in 43 days, 15 hours, 11 minutes, about one day ahead of his nearest rival, Raiji Okamoto, 36, of Kyoto.

Nine Japanese men and one American woman, Linda Weber-Rettie, a California high school teacher, set sail from San Francisco on June 7 (June 8 Japan time). A tenth Japanese joined later.

Officials said Imada ran into steamy, windless weather as he neared Japan, thwarting his attempt to beat the 39-day record for a solo Pacific crossing from the US to Japan set by a Frenchman in 1969.

Officials said that Webber-Rettie, 38, and 18-year-old Yoichi Higashiyama, who is trying to become the youngest person ever to cross the Pacific alone, were both proceeding smoothly and should arrive in Japan in a few days.

Solo trans-Pacific races have been held twice before in the past, a five-boat crossing in 1969 and an eight-boat race in 1975.

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