Sailing: Dolphin sees off rival

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Battling all the way to the finish line, Matt Humphries and the crew of Dolphin & Youth, the only British entry in the Whitbread Round the World Race, held off the challenge of their rival Italian 60- footer, Brooksfield, to finish in ninth place at the end of the first leg here yesterday.

The boats tracked each other for the final 20 miles of the 6,000 they faced when they set out from Southampton 26 days ago. It has been a frustrating time for both. The British crew have seen nearly every tactical move come to nothing and then had the gap between themselves and the leaders stretch to over a day and a half.

'We are happy with the result, though we all know we should have done better,' the 23-year old Humphries said. 'We have had no weather-fax information on which to base tactics, and we were given a double dose of the Doldrums.'

The consolation for Dolphin & Youth is the prospect of more financial support from their principal sponsor, Reebok. Brooksfield's Guido Maisto knows that a broken rudder which forced him into Brest, western France, on the second day, has been costly.

He must know that his race is over as far as realistic hopes of catching the leaders are concerned. The same is true for France's Daniel Malle. His maxi, La Poste, which finished in eighth place, twisted its mizzen mast four days into the race and is more than 34 hours behind the race leader, New Zealand Endeavour.

WHITBREAD ROUND THE WORLD RACE First leg (Southampton to Punta del Este, Urug) Finishing order: 1 New Zealand Endeavour (maxi) 24 days 7hr 19min 2sec; 2 Tokio (Japan, Whitbread 60) 24 10:28:21; 3 Merit Cup (Swit, maxi) 24 15:41:39; 4 Galicia '93 Pescanova (Sp, W60) 24 20:30:42; 5 Yamaha (Japan, W60) 24 21:30:22; 6 Winston (US, W60) 24 23:49:45; 7 Intrum Justitia (Europe, W60) 25 02:40:49; 8 La Poste (Fr, maxi) 25 18:03:28. 9 Dolphin & Youth (GB, W60) 26 03:22:02; 10 Brooksfield (It, W60) 26 03:35:09. Miles to finish (as estimated by BT Results Service): 11 US Women's Challenge (W60) 358; 12 Uruguay Natural (maxi) 487; 13 Hetman Sahaidachny (Ukr, W60) 505; 14 Odessa (Ukr, W60) 2,931.