Match's loss is Cayard's gain

January 14, 1998|By BRUCE STANNARD

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - After the drag race to the finish in Leg 4, EF Language skipper Paul Cayard offered his condolences to Swedish Match, which had a seemingly comfortable 10-nautical-mile lead as the fleet approached the northern tip of New Zealand, 24 hours before the finish in Auckland.

"They fell into a hole out there, and that cost them the race," Cayard said.

Swedish Match, becalmed about 4 miles off the coast, could do nothing but watch as U.S. entry Toshiba, Monaco's Merit Cup, Maryland entry Chessie Racing and EF Language slipped by near the coast.

"But back in Cape Town [South Africa]," Cayard said, "they also had a good break in sailing around a hole, and, as sometimes happens, sailboat races are determined by the holes you sail into. Here we are halfway around the world, and I think every competitor agrees we have one hell of a boat race.

"There's still a long way to go and anything could happen."

Chessie's 'success story'

Ross Field, the winning W60 skipper aboard Tokio in the 1993-94 Whitbread and the skipper who had to drop out from the current race because of funding problems with America's Challenge, told the Whitbread Race Office that Chessie Racing, which has finished third in each of the past two legs, is the success story of this race.

When asked to name his top three boats, Field said, "I'd have to give it to EF Language, then Chessie Racing and Toshiba."

Pub Date: 1/14/98

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