Sailing / Whitbread Round The World Race: Smith on the charge

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WITH strong breezes predicted this weekend, Grant Dalton's position at the front of the Whitbread Round The World fleet in his maxi NZ Endeavour was under threat last night from Lawrie Smith, still leading the 20-feet shorter Whitbread 60s in Intrum Justitia, writes Stuart Alexander.

Smith was 68 miles behind Dalton with a best 24-hour run of 376.6 miles and yesterday afternoon was travelling a knot and a half slower than Dalton.

Fourteen miles behind Smith is Chris Dickson in Tokio, the first W60 home in the first leg. Dickson has shaken off the the Spanish W60 Galicia, which reports a broken spinnaker pole.

The second maxi, Merit Cup, had masts in the water three times, the top rigging tensioners on both masts were broken and a hole was ripped out of the deck by one of the spinnaker control blocks.