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Ramón Carlín

Ramón Carlín

Ramón Carlín, the ‘weekend sailor’ who upset the odds to become the winner of the first Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973-74, died in Mexico City at the age of 92. Carlín was a complete unknown in the sport when he entered the event, which later became the Volvo Ocean Race, having made his fortune selling washing machines and other white goods in his native Mexico.

By 1973, he was seeking new challenges. He assembled a crew of good, but unheralded sailors, before upsetting some of the era’s leading names of offshore sailing, by winning the race on handicap with his Swan 65, Sayula II.

He didn’t insure Sayula II for the race, saving the premium to cover necessary repairs. The crew only discovered this as they approached the finish with only 14 of the 19 strands of the forestay still intact. After the race, in which three rival sailors died in the 19-strong fleet, Carlín returned home to a presidential reception in Acapulco and became Mexico’s most famous yachtsman.

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