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Cayard, EF Language Win Leg 3, Regain Overall Lead

EF Language
SYDNEY, Australia (Dec. 22, 1997) — Paul Cayard and EF Language won Leg 3 of the Whitbread Round the World Race for the Volvo Trophy today to regain the overall lead in the sailing marathon.

EF Language crossed the finish line at 1439 GMT (0139 local), besting Swedish Match by just five minutes in the 2,250-mile leg from Fremantle to Sydney.

Finishing only one minute behind Swedish Match was the American boat Chessie Racing, which has AmericaOne tactician John Kostecki on board. This is the best finish yet for Chessie in the first three legs of the nine-leg Whitbread Race.

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Cayard said that "an incredible, meteorological anomaly" kept the fleet close together. "No situations, which should have let the fleet spread out, came to fruition. It was the closest 2,250 nautical mile race that I have ever been in."

Added navigator Mark Rudiger: "Weather maps and models weren't what they should have been. I had to go on instinct rather than base my decisions on facts. There was some luck involved in this victory."

With today's victory, Cayard and crew scored 105 points, reclaiming the top position on the leader board with 302 total points. They won also the first leg, but finished a disappointing fifth in Leg 2. EF Language now has a healthy 35-point lead over Norway's Innovation Kvaerner, which finished fifth today and has a total of 267 points.

Swedish Match moves up to the third spot overall, knocking Britain's Silk Cut, seventh for Leg 3, down to sixth overall. Merit Cup, fourth today, is also fourth overall.

Chessie Racing moved up to fifth overall, pushing Dennis Conner's Toshiba to seventh. The all-women team aboard EF Education is eighth and the Dutch boat BrunelSunergy is ninth. America's Challenge withdrew after the first leg.

The 1,240-nautical-mile Leg 4, Sydney to Auckland, New Zealand, begins Jan. 4 and is expected to take five days to complete.

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