Sailing: Smith flies ahead as Silk Cut drops anchor

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The Independent Online
THE SKIPPER of the British yacht Silk Cut, Lawrie Smith, spent his 42nd birthday guiding his boat into Ushuaia on the southern tip of Argentina yesterday to take on the extra food and diesel which will enable her to complete the fifth leg of the Whitbread Round the World race.

Silk Cut had been sailing under jury rig for 10 days following the loss of the top section of her mast. "We hope to be in port less than 12 hours," Smith said. "We are still racing."

Smith, however, will not be aboard when Silk Cut puts to sea again. He and five of his crew will fly the remaining 2,000 miles to the finish at Sao Sebastiao in Brazil to prepare a new mast.

The all-women crew of EF Education are also heading for Ushuaia, but are still 680 miles from Cape Horn.

Brunel Sunergy duly moved into second place after their audacious decision to sail around the eastern coast of the Falkland Islands. While Innovation Kvaerner, Merit Cup, Swedish Match and Toshiba have been becalmed to the west for two days, Roy Heiner took the roundabout route and leapfrogged four places to head the pack behind the runaway leader, EF Language.

Heiner is now ahead of third-placed Innovation Kvaerner by nine miles and is averaging 15 knots. His rivals are only able to achieve nine knots at best.

WHITBREAD ROUND THE WORLD RACE (Fifth leg, 6,670 miles, Auckland, NZ, to Sao Sebastiao, Bra): 1 EF Language (Swe) P Cayard 983 miles to finish; 2 Brunel Sunergy (Neth) R Heiner +613; 3 Innovation Kvaerner (Nor) K Frostad +622; 4 Merit Cup (Monaco) G Dalton +625.8; 5 Swedish Match (Swe) G Krantz +626.2; 6 Chessie Racing (US) D Smith +628; 7 Toshiba (US) P Standbridge + 630; 8 Silk Cut (GB) L Smith +1,176; 9 EF Education (Swe) C Guillou +1,816.

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