Sailing: Dalton looks to atone for 19-day `nightmare'

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The Independent Online
Grant Dalton, the skipper of Merit Cup, is promising to bounce back after posting a miserable seventh in the second leg of the Whitbread Round the World Race. Stuart Alexander reports from Fremantle.

Second on the first leg from Southampton, everything went wrong just four hours after leaving Cape Town and Grant Dalton could only sit at the back of the fleet and seethe as the leg winner, Gunnar Krantz, brought Swedish Match into Fremantle just one hour under four days ahead of him.

Dalton and his crew were in danger of running out of food as the voyage stretched to 19 days - the last 36 hours spent ensnared in a high pressure system.

The crew, who had endured "a nightmare", would be given a few days leave "to get their heads back together" and then it would be back to hard work. "We need to win one of the next two legs," Dalton said. "This is just the second race in a nine-race regatta."

Just to make sure there are no more mistakes, Dalton will be boosting his onboard meteorological expertise for the third leg to Sydney, even though he already has one of the world's foremost weathermen in Bob Rice. Lawrie Smith is doing the same on Silk Cut by bringing in the New Zealander Nick White, the navigator on Yamaha when she won the last Whitbread race.

Still to arrive is the all-woman crew of EF Education. "I was going to stab myself through the heart with dividers if the girls had got past us," Dalton said.

WHITBREAD ROUND THE WORLD RACE (second leg, 4,600 miles, Cape Town to Fremantle): Finished: 1 Swedish Match (Swe) G Krantz 15 days 03hr 45min 03sec; 2 Innovation Kvaerner (Nor) K Frostad 15:22:02:35; 3 Toshiba (US) P Standbridge 16:05:27:12; 4 Silk Cut (GB) L Smith 16:15:05:09; 5 EF Language (Swe) P Cayard 16:20:07:25, 6 Chessie Racing (US) M Fischer 17:11:51:47; 7 Merit Cup (Monaco) G Dalton 19:02:37:00. Still to finish: 8 EF Education (Swe) C Guillou 32 miles to go 9 Brunel Sunergy (Neth) H Bouscholte 46 miles to go. Overall standings: 1 Innovation Kvaerner 207pts; 2 EF Language 197; 3 Silk Cut 168; 4 Swedish Match 161; 5 Toshiba 157, 6 Chessie Racing 132; 7 Merit Cup 110.