Whitbread Race: Leg 5, Auckland to São Sebastião
Cayard, EF Language in Tie for Lead
AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Feb. 1, 1998) Though they trailed at the start, Paul Cayard and EF Language moved into a dead heat with Innovation Kvaerner an hour and a half into the race as the two boats led the Whitbread fleet across the Harauki Gulf toward the open ocean on the 6,670-nautical-mile Leg 5 to São Sebastião, Brazil. Silk Cut, favored to the win this leg, was just three-tenths of mile astern.
EF Language near Auckland in Leg 4
It was a downwind start in a light southerly breeze, with the huge spectator fleet churning the sea into rhythmless chop. Leg 4 winner Merit Cup and Swedish Match were first across the line and opened up a gap of several hundred yards on the other seven competitors. But the two boats sailed into windless hole created by the convergence of the southerly sea breeze and a northerly breeze coming off the shore.
The crews aboard Merit Cup and Swedish Match could do nothing but watch helplessly as the other boats crawled past them, with Merit Cup dropping to second-to-last. Only Toshiba was farther back.
Cayard and EF Language are the overall race leaders with 372 points, followed by Merit Cup, 333, Swedish Match, 313, and Innovation Kvaerner, 307.
Read Paul Cayard's thoughts about this leg in his report from EF Language just two hours before the start.
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