Sailing: Smith's answer: Whitbread Round The World Race

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The Independent Online
THE roll of the dice which has put the majority of the Whitbread fleet across a 100- mile front will reward the winners and punish the losers over the next 48 hours but yesterday, going into the third day of the second leg from Uruguay to Fremantle, out on his own was Eugene Platon, skipper of the 100-1 Ukrainian outsider, Hetman Sahaidachny.

His 15 hours of fame was the result of peeling his Whitbread 60, built in a former aramaments factory close to Moscow, off the main fleet and striking hard east for 100 miles as his rivals either put in just a short hitch to the east or continued to head south. It could not last, of course, and by last night it was Lawrie Smith in Intrum Justitia who had taken over the lead as the Ukrainian subsided to fifth.

Platon had finished the first leg eighth of the 10 W60s. But just being in first place - ahead of such illustrious rivals as Smith, Brad Butterworth in Winston, and Ross Field in Yamaha - showed how much difference a favourable breeze can make.

Hetman was also ahead of the first-leg winner, Chris Dickson, who, although the seventh W60 in terms of miles to the finish, was leading the southerly group. His progress was barely slowed when bowman Ken Hara was swept overboard during a spinnaker change but was rapidly recovered unhurt.

Yesterday afternoon Dickson's Tokio, with Guido Maisto in Brooksfield and Dawn Riley in Women's Challenge, were all travelling significantly faster than the more northerly and easterly group.

Much closer are the three leading maxis, with Switzerland's Pierre Fehlmann edging Merit Cup just ahead of Grant Dalton in New Zealand Endeavour.

WHITBREAD ROUND THE WORLD RACE: Leg 2 (Punta del Este to Fremantle; positions, with miles to the finish) IOR Maxi: 1 Merit Cup, 7,250; 2 New Zealand Endeavour, 7,251; 3 La Poste, 7,266; 4 Uruguay Natural, 7,334. Whitbread 60: 1 Intrum Justitia, 7,256; 2 Galicia '93 Pescanova, 7,258; 3 Winston, 7,261; 4 Yamaha, 7,266; 5 Hetman Sahaidachny, 7,268; 6 Dolphin & Youth, 7,269; 7 Tokio, 7,302; 8 Brooksfield, 7,308; 9 Women's Challenge, 7,318; 10 Odessa, 7,361. (As estimated by BT Results Service).