Sailing: Smith on his way towards a second trophy: Stuart Alexander reports from Punta del Este, Uruguay, on the Whitbread Race

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AFTER a night of frustration and slow progress, Lawrie Smith was again heading for a win in the fourth leg of the Whitbread Round-the- World race yesterday. He had slipped two miles behind the maxi, New Zealand Endeavour, but that was compensated for by his Intrum Justitia consolidating a 50-mile lead over the second-placed Whitbread 60, Ross Field's Yamaha.

In third place, by only a mile, is Chris Dickson's Tokio. But the crucial calculation was that, at the speed of 8.2 knots they were all averaging, Smith would claw back six of the 17 hours and 40 minutes by which Dickson leads the race overall.

With a forecast of winds moving into the east, the leaders should all enjoy a trouble-free run to the finish here by midday today, giving Smith his second Heineken Trophy from the three legs since he took over as skipper of the pan-European W60.

High pressure was slowing Peter Blake and Robin Knox-Johnston in Enza as they crossed their outward track heading north in the Atlantic to the finish of their bid to sail non- stop round the world in under 79 days. They are 3.5 days ahead of schedule, have 25 days left, and have a 180-mile advantage on their French rival, Olivier de Kersauson, with about 4,700 miles to go.

WHITBREAD ROUND THE WORLD RACE Fourth leg (Auckland to Punta del Este, Urug): Positions, with miles to the finish: Maxi class 1 New Zealand Endeavour 231; 2 Merit Cup 271; 3 La Poste 307; 4 Uruguay Natural 934. Whitbread 60s: 1 Intrum Justitia 232; 2 Yamaha 279; 3 Tokio 280; 4 Galicia '93 Pescanova 301; 5 Winston 431; 6 Brooksfield 469; 7 Heineken 515; 8 Dolphin and Youth 528; 9 Hetman Sahaidachny 548; 10 Odessa 926.

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