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Tuesday, 26 May, 1998, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Leg Nine: Whitbread victory for EF Language
EF Language: assured of victory even before the final leg
After eight months and 31,600 miles the Whitbread Round the World Race has been won by EF Language.

The final leg was won by Merit Cup which crossed the finishing line off Ocean Village in Southampton, England, shortly after 12.40pm on Sunday.

This means the Monaco entry skippered by New Zealander Grant Dalton, finishes the race second overall.

merit cup crew
Merit Cup: first over the finishing line
Sweden's EF Language, skippered by Paul Cayard finished the leg second.

But it had already sealed overall victory before setting out from La Rochelle on Friday.

In a sprint finish to the line, EF Language, Innovation Kvaerner, Silk Cut and Swedish Match were all within two miles of Merit Cup. Only eight miles separated the winner from the backmarker, EF Education.

The yachts started out from Southampton on September 21 last year for a race that took in stops at Cape Town, Fremantle, Sydney, Auckland, Sao Sebastiao, Fort Lauderdale, Baltimore and La Rochelle.

Because of a change of sponsor this will be the last Whitbread Round the World Race. The first Volvo Ocean Race Around the World will start from England in September 2001.

See also:

02 Apr 98 | Whitbread yacht race
17 May 98 | Whitbread yacht race
28 Apr 98 | Whitbread yacht race
22 May 98 | Sport
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