Sailing: Field deals with adversity

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The Independent Online
ROSS FIELD in Yamaha yesterday opened up an eight-mile lead over the new overall leader in the Whitbread 60 class, Lawrie Smith in Intrum Justitia, in the Whitbread Round the World Race, writes Stuart Alexander.

The severe weather has pounded the yachts during the first five days of the fifth leg from Uruguay to Fort Lauderdale. Field has minor sail damage and two broken safety line stanchions, which will not trouble him too much, nor will a broken radar, or screen popping out of a navigation computer, slow Intrum.

The need to go for a break which would allow him to cut deeply into Chris Dickson and Tokio's overall lead of 14 hours evaporated for Smith when Dickson's mast collapsed. Now Smith can afford to match-race all the way home, and he has three and a half hours in the bank over Yamaha from the first four legs.

The weather has also hit the maxis, who have seen the top four 60s go past their leader, Pierre Fehlmann in Merit Cup. Second-placed Grant Dalton in New Zealand Endeavour was another said to have suffered damage, to sails, to a mainsail sheet traveller and electronic instruments, but by yesterday afternoon she was again the fastest boat in the remaining 12.

WHITBREAD ROUND THE WORLD RACE Fifth Leg (5,475 miles, Punte del Este, Urug to Fort Lauderdale, US): Positions with miles to finish: Maxis: 1 Merit Cup 4,256; 2 New Zealand Endeavour 4,279; 3 La Poste 4,297; 4 Uruguay Natural 4,535. Whitbread 60s: 1 Yamaha, 4,223; 2 Intrum Justitia 4,231; 3 Galicia '93 Pescanova 4,236; 4 Brooksfield, 4,251; 5 Winston 4,258; 6 Heineken 4,264; 7 Hetman Sahaidachny 4,318; 8 Odessa 4,364.