Sailing: Running repairs help put movistar back in the race

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The Independent Online

The little port of Albany in south-west Australia became a temporary grand prix repair workshop yesterday as first the Spanish yacht movistar and then Pirates of the Caribbean peeled off the track on the second leg of the Volvo Race from Cape Town to Melbourne.

After rounding the second scoring gate at Eclipse Island, Bouwe Bekking linked up with a boat in the calmer waters off Albany carrying a shore team from movistar that had flown in with spare parts and equipment. They were able to complete repairs both to a keel ram and the hydraulic strut which controls the mainsail boom in just two and a half hours. As a result, he was able to resume racing in three hours and was 124 miles behind the leader.

It took Paul Cayard nearly 24 hours to fix similar keel problems, but he was then confident enough to start the final 1,300 miles to the finish. He also still had a big cushion of over 550 miles on his nearest rivals, the Australians, and so could look forward to racing without being pushed too hard.

That was important. In the lead still is Mike Sanderson's ABN Amro 1, but he and his stablemate rival, Sébastien Josse in ABN 2, are bashing their way upwind and could face the same, 20-knot adverse conditions all the way to Melbourne. The leading trio is having to zig-zag its way instead of being able to sail a direct course, reducing the daily runs to about 220 miles and even further extending the time for a leg that is already taking a week longer than the worst predictions.

In more benign circumstances, Britain's Ian Southworth maintained his third overall after six races of the J24 World Championships off Sandringham, south Melbourne.

Volvo Ocean Race, Leg 2 (Cape Town to Rio). Standings: 1 ABN Amro 1 (M Sanderson) 1,003 miles to finish: 2 ABN Amro 2 (S Josse) +34; 3 movistar (B Bekking) +124; 4 Pirates of the Caribbean (P Cayard) + 349; 5 ING/Brunel (G Wharington) + 906; 6 Brasil 1 (T Grael) + 1,970. Retired: Ericsson (N McDonald).

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