Sailing: Cayard builds lead as Bekking cools his keel

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The Independent Online

A great third-leg finish was followed by an equally spectacular fourth-leg start as the Volvo Race left here yesterday to take on the fury of the Southern ocean and one of the world's great turning points, Cape Horn.

Paul Cayard's The Black Pearl played the gusting winds off a start-line close to a crowded dockside to establish a three-minute lead as they turned back into the Cook Strait they had left three days earlier in third place.

They had shrugged off another display of muscle and skilful counter-punching from the overall leader Mike Sanderson, second in with ABN Amro 1 on Thursday, second out yesterday. After an hour Cayard had nearly doubled that lead.

Bouwe Bekking, the Dutch skipper of the Spanish yacht movistar, was champing at the bit back inshore, counting down every second of the two-hour penalty incurred for making repairs to both keel mechanism and daggerboard during the pit stop.

He had beaten Sanderson - by just nine seconds - for the first time at any stage since the fleet left Galicia on 12 November, and the two hours were a cheap time price to pay for the repairs. But they could look expensive in points terms in Rio de Janeiro, 6,700 miles away but increased to 7,000 by the inclusion of two ice "gates" to keep the fleet north of danger.