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On 29 August 1981, 29 boats left Southampton for the third edition of the Whitbread Round the World Race.

Only 20 finished the race out of the 29 that started. The maxi yacht Flyer II won the race both on line honours and on handicap. She was designed by Germán Frers and built at the W. Huisman shipyard in 1981 for skipper Cornelius van Rietschoten.

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