Sailing: Cayard caught by wild winds

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THE FORECAST had been for a slow start to the sixth leg of the Whitbread Round the World Race from Sao Sebastiao in Brazil to Florida's Fort Lauderdale, but the first night saw 40- knot gusts and a lucky escape for the overall leader, EF Language.

Paul Cayard feared for the rig when his boat caught a 37-knot puff and buried her bow three feet under water. Six sails went over the side, wiping out the starboard stanchions.

Fortunately, there was no damage to the mast, spinnaker, or any other important gear. "We got the sails back on board and cleaned up the mess," Cayard reported. "We were very lucky."

Grant Dalton was enjoying the conditions on Merit Cup. "What a wake-up call," he said. "I wasn't expecting a wild ride."