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Wednesday, 1 April, 1998, 06:50 GMT 07:50 UK
Leg Five: Carnival time for EF Language
EF Language pictured earlier in the race
EF Language pictured earlier in the race
EF Language has notched up its third win of the five legs sailed so far in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race.

Samba drums and dancing girls greeted American skipper Paul Cayard as he steered the Swedish boat into Sao Sebastiao, Brazil, at 0209 GMT on Tuesday.

The San Francisco-based skipper and his crew, who also won the first and third legs, completed the 6,670-mile journey from Auckland, New Zealand, in just over 23 days.

As he stepped ashore, Cayard said: "Our success in the race is only paralleled by this reception. For us to be the first to Cape Horn and to the finish shows that we learnt from our mistakes on leg two, and that is very satisfying.

"Winning three out of five legs shows that we have a good boat, crew and team. We are very happy."

EF Language skipper Paul Cayard
EF Language skipper Paul Cayard
Their arrival in the middle of Carnival and the middle of the night seemed to be sufficient excuse for a major celebration.

Thousands of spectators lined the shore and an 80-strong band of samba drummers filled the night air with their rhythmic beat.

Swedish crew member Magnus Olsson, sailing in his fifth Whitbread race, was overcome with emotion. "I have enormous respect for the Southern Ocean, and this is the first time that I have been in harmony with it," he said.

"We were always one step ahead of it, and the ocean rewarded us for our decisions. We coped well with the conditions and we loved it.

"Cape Horn is my Mount Everest. It came out of the fog, this rugged land with waves crossing in different directions. The mystery of the Cape evaporated as we sailed from the Southern Ocean into the South Atlantic."

As the boat glided across the finishing line, it was illuminated by red flares, some being held by the crew and some by the enthusiastic spectator fleet. Crew member Curtis Blewett climbed to the top of the mast with a flare, lighting up the sails.

The second placed boat, Roy Heiner's Dutch entry Brunel Sunergy, was 508 miles behind when EF Language crossed the line.

EF Language's closest challenger in the overall standings, Merit Cup, was languishing in fifth place, 617 miles from home when Cayard's crew sailed into port.

The sixth leg, from Sao Sebastiao to Fort Lauderdale in the United States, starts on March 14. The race finishes back in the UK in May.

See also:

04 Feb 98 | Whitbread yacht race
28 Jan 98 | Whitbread yacht race
21 Feb 98 | Sport
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