Sailing: Assa makes light of the heavy weather

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The Independent Online

The Sydney-Hobart Race delivered on its savage promise with boat-breaking conditions, perilous waterspouts and a light-wind finale.

Seventy-five boats left the smokelands of Sydney on Boxing Day, among them the eight Volvo Ocean Race boats on the way to Auckland. The Volvo fleet is two down as SEB has retired with a broken rudder and Amer Sports Too is in Hobart with a damaged rudder sustained after striking an object, thought to be a shark.

Others were licking their wounds during the three-and-a-half-hour pit-stop, examining damaged sails, exploded water-ballast systems and, in the case of the first boat into Hobart, broken humanity: Assa Abloy's Magnus Ohlson went to hospital for examination after a first-night fall.

Assa Abloy was first back to sea after the mandatory stop, heading east into heavy conditions once more. Amer Sports One was under an hour behind, and last night less than seven miles separated first from last – the overall leader, Illbruck.