Sailing: Another record day for Smith

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THROWING caution to the winds, Lawrie Smith once again drove Intrum Justitia to a world record of 428.7 miles in 24 hours yesterday as he led the fleet into the Southern Ocean on the fourth leg of the Whitbread Race.

Talking blithely about the boat crashing off waves, the mast shaking and shuddering, sleep being impossible, he beat by 3.7 miles the record he set to win the Omega Trophy on leg two, also in the Southern Ocean. Intrum was one of four to break the 400-mile barrier yesterday, the others being Yamaha with 413.8, Galicia with 412.8 and Tokio with 407.7.

If that is Chris Dickson's way of sailing conservatively it is not surprising that Tokio has established a 17-hour lead and that his expectation that it would be Smith who would throw down the gauntlet would be so quickly realised. Smith has a 16-mile advantage over Dickson as conditions eased yesterday.

The lumbering giants of the maxi division are seeing their worst fears come true. The opening spell of big downwind breezes favours the Whitbread 60s at a time when the maxis thought they might be able to build a cushion ahead of the high speed lanes of the Roaring Forties and Furious Fifties across the bottom of the world to Cape Horn.

Grant Dalton's New Zealand Endeavour is again in front, by 24 miles, of Eric Tabarly in La Poste, who is a two-mile neck in front of Pierre Fehlmann in Merit Cup. But Dalton is sixth overall and over 60 miles behind Smith.

WHITBREAD ROUND THE WORLD RACE Fourth Leg (Auckland to Punta del Este; positions, with miles to the finish): 1 Intrum Justitia, 4,915; 2 Tokio, 4,931; 3 Galicia '93 Pescanova, 4,935; 4 Yamaha, 5,080 (previous report); 5 Winston, 4,971; 6 New Zealand Endeavour, 4,977; 7 Brooksfield, 4,993; 8 La Poste, 5,001; 9 Merit Cup, 5,003; 10 Dolphin & Youth, 5,021; 11 Heineken, 5,041; 12 Hetman Sahaidachny, 5,140; 13 Uruguay Natural, 5,168; 14 Odessa, 5,184. BT Results Service.

Peter Blake and Robin Knox-Johnston's 92ft catamaran, ENZA, is three days ahead of schedule in their bid to sail around the world not just in under 80 days but significantly faster than the 79 days 15 hours set last year by Bruno Peyron.