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Sailing: British hit by damage to rudder

RUDDER damage yesterday forced Dolphin & Youth, the British entry in the Whitbread Round the World Race, to switch course for the Kerguelen Islands in order to carry out essential repairs, writes Stuart Alexander.

It came as a bitter blow to the skipper, Matt Humphries, and his crew as they had, with the Spanish yacht, Galicia, been making the fastest time, averaging over 17 knots. They were also catching Brooksfield, the Italian W60 which was immediately ahead of them. To make repairs, Chris 'Spike' Ramsden, the American crewman, had the task of hanging out over the stern and lashing a repair to the broken gudgeon pin while the boat was still at 17 knots. 'We are now sailing under very reduced sail at about 10 to 12 knots,' said Steve Hayles, the navigator.

Still leading the charge in the W60 class is Lawrie Smith, in Intrum Justitia. Smith not only maintained his lead over his rival, Chris Dickson in Tokio, at 58 miles, but consolidated his overall lead over the 14-strong fleet.

Grant Dalton, the skipper of another damaged yacht, New Zealand Endeavour, which yesterday fell to 37 miles behind Intrum Justitia, revealed that his boat had lost the top 10.1 metres of her mizzen, not eight metres as had first been thought. The recovery operation took seven hours after which Dalton said: 'The whole crew were heroes.' Dalton estimates that being able to carry only about 10 per cent of the sail's power on the remaining 17 metres of mast will lose two knots and maybe more.

Meanwhile Pierre Fehlmann, in Merit Cup, was yesterday catching him steadily and should have taken the maxi lead overnight. Dalton, however, has eight hours in the bank from winning the first leg and feels he can recover after the second leg.

WHITBREAD ROUND THE WORLD RACE: Second leg (Punta del Este, Urug to Fremantle, Aus): Positions, with miles to the finish: Maxi class: 1 New Zealand Endeavour, 2,658; 2 Merit Cup, 2,687; 3 La Poste, 2,781; 4 Uruguay Natural, 3,636.

Whitbread 60s: 1 Intrum Justitia, 2,621; 2 Tokio, 2,679; 3 Yamaha, 2,710; 4 Galicia '93 Pescanova, 2,733; 5 Winston, 2,736; 6 Brooksfield, 2,838; 7 Dolphin & Youth, 2,856; 8 Women's Challenge, 3,339; 9 Hetman Sahaidachny, 3,370; 10 Odessa, 3,596.

Information by BT Results Service.