Sailing: Smith breaks 24-hour record: Briton in charge

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The Independent Online
THE dream takeover by Lawrie Smith of the Whitbread 60, Intrum Justitia, continued yesterday when he smashed the world record for distance covered in 24 hours, logging 425 miles for an average speed of 17.7 knots.

It was yet another remarkable day in a remarkable leg for Smith, who was brought in at the last minute to replace Roger Nilson as skipper. From being a struggling fifth on the first leg Smith has transformed the boat and its results, leading the 60s all the way from Punta del Este, and now ahead of the leading maxi, Grant Dalton's NZ Endeavour by over 100 miles.

He is now less than 2,000 miles from both the Heineken leg winner's trophy and the Omega speed performance trophy in Fremantle, Western Australia.

His was one of three boats to crash though the 400-miles-a- day barrier, showing how hard he is driving the boat and the way he is able to drag some extra edge out of it.

Chris Dickson, in Tokio, covered 415.8 miles and Javier de la Gandara, in Galicia, 411.7 miles. It was de la Gandara who set the record in the last race, 411.2 miles, in the boat which Smith originally took over and modified for this race, the Spanish maxi Fortuna.

Tokio is also past Dalton, but Dalton's crew have put in a superhuman effort to keep the second maxi, Pierre Fehlmann's Merit Cup, at bay. Fehlmann was 18 miles behind yesterday afternoon but should power through as soon as the wind eases at all.

But bowing to the inevitable was the skipper of Britain's 60ft entry, Dolphin & Youth. Attempts to lash a broken rudder fitting proved only a temporary delay to the whole rudder breaking away and the crew spent much of yesterday rigging a makeshift replacement to get them the 400 miles to the Kergueln Islands. There they hope to make a stronger repair to carry them the remaining 2,000 miles to Fremantle.

WHITBREAD ROUND THE WORLD RACE: Second leg (Punta del Este, Urug to Fremantle, Aus): Positions, with miles to the finish: Maxi class: 1 New Zealand Endeavour, 2,304; 2 Merit Cup, 2,322; 3 La Poste, 2,444; 4 Uruguay Natural, 3,446.

Whitbread 60s: 1 Intrum Justitia, 2,202; 2 Tokio, 2,270; 3 Yamaha, 2,327; 4 Galicia '93 Pescanova, 2,339; 5 Winston, 2,391; 6 Brooksfield, 2,444; 7 Dolphin & Youth, 2,693; 8 Women's Challenge, 3,077; 9 Hetman Sahaidachny, 3,134; 10 Odessa, 3,399.