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EDITIONS
Monday, 2 February, 1998, 09:43 GMT
Leg Three: EF Language wins race to Sydney
EF Language's victory gives them the overall lead
Sweden's EF Language has won the third leg of the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race in a thrilling finish to take the overall lead.

The yacht, skippered by American Paul Cayard, crossed the finishing line near Sydney's Opera House just five minutes ahead Swedish Match, after nine days' racing. Chessie Racing, from the United States, finished third, 53 seconds further back.

It was the closest finish in the 25-year history of the epic global race. All nine yachts finished within two hours. The winner took nine days nine hours nine minutes and 20 seconds to compete the 2,250 mile journey from Fremantle, in western Australia.

ef crew
Success for the EF crew
EF Language took the lead from Swedish Match - which was nursing a badly damaged rig - just outside the heads of Sydney Harbour and surged up the harbour at about 14 knots to win.

After the finish, Cayard said: "That was some boat race. We really fought inch by inch to get past Swedish Match, and then when we got ahead our spinnaker blew out and I thought we'd lose it again."

The victory earned Cayard's team 105 points and gave them the overall lead by 35 points from Norway's Innovation Kvaerner.

Innovation Kvaerner lost crew member Alby Pratt overboard for seven minutes on Sunday night when he was swept over while trying to change sails. It finished the stage in fifth place, two minutes behind Monaco's Merit Cup, which was itself two minutes behind Chessie Racing.

Dennis Conner's American boat Toshiba, skippered by Englishman Paul Standbridge, was sixth; Britain's Silk Cut came seventh; the Dutch yacht, BrunelSunergy, finished eighth; and Sweden's EF Education was last.

The fleet, which leaves Sydney for Auckland in New Zealand on January 4, is expected to finish the race in Southampton, England, around May 24 next year.

See also:

04 Feb 98 | Whitbread yacht race
16 Dec 97 | Sport
23 Nov 97 | Sport
05 Jan 98 | Whitbread yacht race
Internet links:


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