Women's boat due in port today

March 11, 1998|By GILBERT A. LEWTHWAITE | GILBERT A. LEWTHWAITE,SUN FOREIGN STAFF

SAO SEBASTIAO, Brazil - The all-female crew of EF Education is expected to arrive here today, 40 days after leaving Auckland, New Zealand, and with just three days to get the boat ready for the Whitbread restart Saturday.

"The girls," as they are universally called, have sustained a series of setbacks on their way from Auckland, round Cape Horn, to this tropical port. They broke their mast, sailed under a jury rig for 3,000 miles, stopped for a new mast in Argentina, and then ripped their mainsail. They were forced to withdraw from the leg last week so that they could use their engine to get here in time for Saturday's restart. They are in last place overall in the nine-boat fleet.

On the dock here, the shore team is ready to give the 60-foot racer a rapid turnaround, repairing and servicing its gear, updating its navigation computers, and resupplying its food and medical stocks.

"Team EF is going to do it . . . ," navigator Lynnath Beckley said in an e-mail, "and the EF girls will be out there mixing it with those W60 boys again come the start of Leg 6 on Saturday."

Pub Date: 3/11/98

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