Crew fight on in `icy Jacuzzi'

Sailing
While the first eight of the 14-strong fleet in the BT Challenge round the world race were able to celebrate New Year ashore, the crew of Courtaulds still had 300 miles to go and were experiencing what they described as the worst conditions of the entire second leg from Rio de Janeiro to Wellington.

They were not alone, with the largely disabled crew of Time & Tide reported to be battling on in what was an icy Jacuzzi on deck as waves whipped up by the 60-knot winds of Hurricane Fergus broke all over the boat.

The yachts to reach New Zealand yesterday were Merfyn Owen (Global Teamwork), Richard Merriweather (Commercial Union) and Tom O'Connor (Pause to Remember) and Richard Tudor (Nuclear Electric).

There was then a 140-mile gap to Paul Bennett in Ocean Rover, with the rest strung out over nearly 400 miles.

The dismasted Concert had arrived at the Chatham Islands in time for their own celebration, but were stopping only to refuel. They will then motor sail to Wellington where they will receive a new mast. The whole fleet is to be re-rigged following the problems which have beset many of the boats on the 6,600-mile voyage round Cape Horn.

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