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U.S. Yacht Moves Into Lead

February 4, 1998

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) _ The American yacht Toshiba, with Paul Standbridge at the helm, moved into the lead on the fifth leg of the Whitbread round-the-world race Wednesday.

The nine yachts were making slow progress down New Zealand’s east coast in light winds. Toshiba has sailed just over 600 nautical miles since the fleet left Auckland last Sunday, with 6,043 nautical miles remaining of the 6,670-nautical-mile leg to Sao Sebastio, Brazil.

Chessie Racing, another American entry, was in second place, 3 nautical miles behind, following by Merit Cup in third, 8 nautical miles behind the leader.

Swedish Match is in fourth place, followed by British entry Silk Cut, overall race leader EF Language, Innovation Kvaerner, EF Education and Brunel Sunergy.

The yachts will pass through the Southern Ocean and must round Cape Horn, with the leaders expected to arrive in Sao Sebastio by late February or early March.

Powerful winds, high seas and icebergs were said to be awaiting the yachts before the long final section up the South American coast.

The seventh Whitbread race started in Southampton, England, on Sept. 21 last year and the first yachts are expected across the finish line in Southampton in late May.

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