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Body of Soviet Yachtsman Found Hanging from Tree

October 12, 1989

PUNTA DEL ESTE, Uruguay (AP) _ The body of the co-captain of a Soviet yacht participating in the Fifth Whitbread Round The World Race was found hanging from a tree Wednesday near this seaside resort, police said.

Police said the body of Alexei Gryshenko, reported missing Tuesday by crew of the yacht Fasizi, was found by a passer-by who was searching for firewood in a pine grove two miles from Punta del Este.

A letter, written in Russian and apparently dated Monday, was found nearby, said police officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Soviet Embassy in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, 88 miles west of this beach resort, said it had no information regarding the discovery of Gryshenko’s body.

Gryshenko and Skip Novak of the United States served as co-captains of Fasizi, which arrived here on Oct. 1, the seventh yacht to complete the first of six legs of the 33,000-mile Whitbread race.

Fasizi, sponsored by Pepsi Cola and Aeroflot, the Soviet airline, was among 23 yachts that left Southampton, England, on Sept. 2, on the 6,200-mile voyage to Punta del Este. The vessels are scheduled to begin the next leg to Fremante, Australia, on Oct. 28.

Police said Gryshenko, wearing a blue sweatshirt, jeans and white sneakers, had been reported missing Tuesday by members of Fasizi’s crew, most of whom were Soviets. The crew told police they had not seen him since Sunday.

They said Gryshenko, in his 40s, was an excellent sailor but seldom spoke during the voyage from Southampton. Upon arrival in Punta del Este, Gryshenko told a brief news conference that he was satisfied with the vessel’s performance.

Fasizi’s participation in the race, held every four years, had been in doubt until the last minute after incurring protracted financial problems and other difficulties, race organizers said.