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Sailing: Conner faces motor protest

A PROTEST has been lodged in the Whitbread Round the World Race against the American yacht Toshiba, skippered by Dennis Conner, claiming the boat's engine was used to clear weed when not necessary.

Toshiba was sixth home in the fifth leg from Auckland to Sao Sebastiao, Brazil, on Saturday in the nine-strong fleet, but the race committee said yesterday that it was protesting about an incident a week ago. Toshiba reported it had used the engine to clear some weed, but the committee believed the circumstances in which the engine was used did not amount to an emergency. An international race jury is expected to sit early this week.

EF Language won the fifth leg a week ago, coming home 500 miles clear of the second boat. The Norwegians, Innovation Kvaerner, finished in seventh place yesterday.