Sailing: Blake limps towards safety

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The Independent Online
ENZA, the 85ft Anglo-Kiwi catamaran which on Saturday abandoned its attempt to sail round the world in 80 days, is limping 1,500 miles to safety in South Africa as makeshift repairs are made to its damaged hulls.

She hit a semi-submerged object in the Southern Ocean on Friday night, causing damage to the starboard hull dagger-board casing and hull, and to the port hull dagger-board.

Although Peter Blake, the co- skipper with Robin Knox-Johnston, described the damage as 'extensive', there were no injuries among the six crew and a cameraman. Enza made slow speed, about one nautical mile an hour, while a patch-and-glue repair hardened, but has since been able to push that up to eight knots.

The yacht was more than four days ahead of schedule and had been averaging more than 14 knots for the 9,000 miles covered in the 27 days she had been sailing from the start line off Brest.

Enza's rival for the Jules Verne Trophy has also had problems. The Frenchman Bruno Peyron, in Commodore Explorer, has had to cope with penetrating damp, gear failure and a split mainsail. He may yet have to call for assistance, which would put him outside the rules of the race, which forbid outside help.

The 10 identical 67ft yachts in the British Steel Challenge continue to experience tough conditions as they battle their way against the gales and cold on the third leg from Hobart to Cape Town. Commercial Union slowed to an average of just three knots in one 12-hour period.

BRITISH STEEL CHALLENGE Third leg (Hobart to Cape Town): Positions (with miles to finish): 1 Group 4 3,038; 2 Nuclear Electric 3,105; 3 British Steel II 3,122; 4 Hofbrau 3,125; 5 Commercial Union 3,144; 6 Rhone-Poulenc 3,146; 7 Interspray 3,155; 8 Coopers & Lybrand 3,165; 9 Heath Insured 3,183; 10 Pride of Teesside 3,214. Information supplied by BT

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