Race is on to recover for next leg

Sailing: The first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race is nearly complete
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The Independent Online

The final trio of yachts is due in Cape Town today after a gruelling first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Southampton.

Gunnar Krantz on SEB has some food, Lisa McDonald's all-woman crew on Amer Sports Too has very little food, while Knut Frostad on djuice has no food. E-mails on board are having to be typed by the light of computer screen. Using valuable battery power – which can only be regenerated by the last few drops of diesel – to provide light is now prohibited.

All three will have taken approximately 37 days to complete the official distance of 7,350 miles. But they will have done far more than that, because of zig-zag tacking into the wind.

The problem for the crews will be the short recovery time before lining up on 11 November for the second, usually tougher, leg of 6,500 miles through the Southern Ocean to Sydney. The shore managers must attend to a long list of checks and repairs on the yachts and mend tired bodies which have suffered a 10 per cent weight loss.

Roy Heiner's fifth-placed Assa Abloy team has lodged a protest against the leg-winner, John Kostecki's illbruck, alleging that they contravened race rules by using an Internet website to source weather information. An international jury, headed by Britain's Bryan Willis, will hear the case on Thursday afternoon.

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