Cahalan stretches lead on Brasil 1 by striking east

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The Independent Online

As shore managers scratched their heads over how best to return crippled yachts to the race track, navigators of the leaders on the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race were rolling the tactical permutations for the dive south through the trade winds.

Adrienne Cahalan had given Brasil 1 a 57-mile lead over Steve Hayles in Ericsson as both chose an easterly option. Speculating to accumulate were the two ABN Amro boats, a further 13 and 17 miles behind.

In Portugal, both movistar, skippered by Bouwe Bekking, and the Paul Cayard-led The Black Pearl looked increasingly likely to make major repairs and still try to complete the first leg from Vigo to Cape Town.

The fifth-placed Australian entry Brunel Sunergy has already left Porto Santo, Madeira, after completing repairs to the boom attachment to the mast.

There has been a little closing of the gaps for the top four Open 60 monohulls in the Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre to Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, as they pick their way through the Doldrums. With about 1,000 miles to the finish, Jean-Pierre Dick, winner in 2003, and Loïck Peyron are still leading from Ellen MacArthur and Roland Jourdain, less than 20 miles astern. Jean le Cam and Kito Pavant have closed the gap in third place to 55 miles and, in fourth, Mike Golding, with Switzerland's Dominique Wavre, while still suffering from a broken port rudder, are 85 miles behind the leaders. Two miles astern they have Brian Thompson and Will Oxley breathing down their necks.

For Giovanni Soldini and Vittorio Malingri, picked up from their capsized and wrecked trimaran TIM 450 miles west of Sierra Leone, there is uncertainty. To their rescue came a supertanker, Capbari, but it is on its way to the Gulf of Mexico, 10 days away. Only four of the original 10 60-foot trimarans are still racing.

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