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Steinlager 2 sails to first leg of Whitbread.

Steinlager 2 sails to first leg win of Whitbread

New Zealand Breweries' Steinlager 2 sailed into Punta del Este to claim Line Honors for the first leg of the Whitbread Round the World Race. After 6,200 miles, the New Zealand ketch crossed the line with a lead of 106 miles over the second-place yacht.

The total elapsed time since the September 2 start of the race in Portsmouth, Great Britain was 25 days, 20 hours and 46 minutes.

Skipper Peter Blake said, "It was the most tremendous race I've ever sailed--conditions were as bad as the Southern seas."

At one point during the race, crew members were hoisted aloft and struggled for 18 hours to repair a halyard as the boat continued on its way. Blake praised his crew's effort, which "wouldn't even let (the boat) slow down while they were aloft."

Blake's strategy of breaking to the west before entering the Doldrums, an ocean zone near the equator known for its lack of wind, has been credited as the reason for such a large lead at the end of the first leg.

"Our sophisticated gear showed us the way to go," Blake explained. "We were fortunate to have the wind more from the side than from behind and this enabled us to fully utilize the yacht's enormous sail-carrying capacity."

Other ports of call in the nine-month include Fremantle, Australia (November 29-December 10); Auckland, New Zealand (January 12-16); Punta del Este, Uruguay (February 28-March 8); Ft. Lauderdale, U.S. (April 13-21); and Southampton, Great Britain, (May 21-29).

Steinlager 2 is the largest Maxiyacht in the Whitbread event, Blake noted and the largest ever built as a racing vessel. Its two masts are able to carry much more sail than its competitors, making it a formidable craft, Blake said.

New Zealand Brewery noted that it plans to spend over $12.6 million on its three technologically advanced racing vessels.
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Title Annotation:Whitbread Round the World sailing race
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Oct 9, 1989
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