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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 28 January, 1998, 11:40 GMT
Leg Two: Consistency takes Innovation into the lead
Knut Frostad
Knut Frostad has skippered Innovation Kvaerner into overall top spot
Innovation Kvaerner, guided by skipper Knut Frostad, has overall lead in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race after the second leg.

Innovation arrived at Fremantle, western Australia, nearly 19 hours after Swedish Match but the 207 points accumulated from both legs gives the crew pole position.

The Norwegian entry took 15 days 22 hours two minutes and 35 seconds to sail the 4,600-mile second leg from Cape Town.

Navigator Marcel van Triest, who has taken part in two previous Whitbread races, said it had been "definitely the windiest leg I have ever experienced in a Whitbread race".

Skipper Frostad described how they hit a whale, which had caused substantial damage to the bow of the boat.

"It was like being in a car crash," he said. "The noise was terrible."

The second leg turned into a one horse race during the treacherous journey across the Southern Ocean.

Soon after the start, the crew of Swedish Match took a southerly tack to find the offshore breeze. They succeeded and shot ahead as the rest of the fleet were becalmed. It was a lead they never relinquished.

After the first week the boats started to find the fierce winds which helped the British entry, Silk Cut, charge up the fleet and set a world record.

Skippered by Lawrie Smith, the boat clinched the record for a monohull by travelling 448.9 nautical miles in 24 hours.

But the high winds which gusted at up to 60 knots also took their toll.

The all-female crew aboard EF Education endured a drama when a wave crashed over the decks and washed the sails overboard. The crew managed to rescue them but the boat was damaged.

Silk Cut, Chessie Racing, Innovation Kvaerner and EF Language also had to make running repairs.

The real battle took part in the middle of the fleet but none of the boats in the chasing pack were able to challenge Swedish Match or Innovation Kvaerner.

Merit Cup, skipperd by Grant Dalton and one of the pre-race favourites, made a route mistake in mid-leg and never recovered from the setback.

The crews will have a short break before the start of the third leg on December 13.

See also:

13 Nov 97 | Whitbread yacht race
19 Nov 97 | Whitbread yacht race
29 Nov 97 | Whitbread yacht race
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