Sailing: Dalton is on crest of a wave

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ENDEAVOUR, the favourite for the event, was setting a record pace as it led a 111-yacht fleet southwards in the Sydney to Hobart race yesterday.

Sailing under full spinnaker, the New Zealand maxi-ketch pulled away from the rest of the fleet and was reaching speeds of 10 to 15 knots in a northerly breeze.

After 330 nautical miles of the 630-mile race, Endeavour, captained by Grant Dalton, was 18 miles clear of the Sydney pocket- maxi, Amazon. The double winner, Condor, competing for the fifth time, was a further 11 miles back, with another New Zealand yacht, Kodak Express, and the joint Australian/French entry, Bobsled, in fourth and fifth places respectively.

The Endeavour crew hope to break the record for the race: 14hr 36min 56sec set in 1975 by the American yacht, Kiaola.