Cayard, the American skipper of Sweden's EF Language, admitted to being extremely tired after "another night of terror" as he pushed his boat harder and harder towards Fremantle. In a report that showed just how violent the Southern Ocean can be, he said: "The grand finale in this opera was a broach with Curtis Blewitt up the mast and the spinnaker pole and boom exploding.
"We were resetting the spinnaker after repairing it from an earlier, smaller mistake. It opened before it got to the top, the helmsman lost control and spun into the wind. Curtis was up the rig while it was shaking violently. I thought he was going to die.
"We have to blow the halyard so we could bare away. The spinnaker went in the water and it was all hands on deck to get it back on board while the boat was doing 15 knots without even trying.
"We got Curtis down and he is OK. He won't ever forget that broach. Life on board is a horror show. When you have a scene like that, it takes three to four hours just to clean up the mess. Then you start on the repairs. No one gets any sleep and meals are forgotten.
"So what we have to do right now is take a time out, two hours of nothing. Two people on deck just making minimal headway. When the spinnaker pole is fixed and we have had some rest we will start racing again."
With Cayard limping along, Smith's next target is third-placed Toshiba - skippered by his former crewmember Paul Stanbridge - some 140 miles ahead.
Smith is a formidable opponent and Silk Cut, averaging 17 knots, has the speed to attack Toshiba over the remaining 1,200 miles to western Australia.
WHITBREAD ROUND THE WORLD RACE (second leg, 4,600 miles, Cape Town to Fremantle): Latest positions: 1 Swedish Match (Swe) G Krantz 642 miles to finish; 2 Innovation Kvaerner (Nor) K Frostad 277 miles behind; 3 Toshiba (US) P Standbridge 397; 4 Silk Cut (GB) L Smith 538; 5 EF Language (Swe) P Cayard 566; 6 Chessie Racing (US) M Fischer 681; 7 Merit Cup (Monaco) G Dalton 925; 8 EF Education (Swe) C Guillou 982; 9 Brunel Sunergy (Neth) H Bouscholte 1,026.
- Stuart Alexander