Sailing: Mistakes put Heiner under black cloud

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The Independent Online
Paul Standbridge's Toshiba was holding off Chessie Racing as the Whitbread Round the World Race fleet continued to make slow progress south yesterday.

The fifth leg, which started from Auckland on Saturday, has failed to get the nine boats off to a flier on the 6,670-mile run to Brazil.

Some skippers are already anxious about food supplies - most boats took enough for only 24 days - while Roy Heiner is working to lift the depression which has settled over the Dutch back marker, Brunel Sunergy.

"It's back to the catch-up game," he said, "and I hate it. Two nights ago we were in the middle of the fleet. We are not getting our wind predictions right."

The fleet, which has now passed the Chatham Islands, has now effectively split into two groups, with the six most westerly boats all within nine miles of each other from front to back and 10 miles west to east.

The all-female EF Education averaged the fastest speed of the morning with 11.2 knots.

l Tracey Edwards and her all-woman crew on the catamaran Royal & SunAlliance completed 450 miles in the first 24 hours of their attempt to beat the women's circumnavigation record. Yesterday morning they were 80 miles south south-west of Cape Finisterre in the Bay of Biscay.

WHITBREAD ROUND THE WORLD RACE (fifth leg, 6,670 miles, Auckland, NZ, to Sao Sebastiao, Bra): 1 Toshiba (US) P Standbridge 5,986.3 miles to finish; 2 Chessie Racing (US) D Smith 17 miles behind; 3 Merit Cup (Monaco) G Dalton +3.1; 4 Swedish Match (Swe) G Krantz +6.6; 5 Silk Cut (GB) L Smith +6.8; 6 EF Language (Swe) PCayard +8.8; 7 Innovation Kvaerner (Nor) K Frostad +16.7; 8 EF Education (Swe) C Guillou +19.2; 9 Brunel Sunergy (Neth) R Heiner 67.1.