Dramatic night for World racers


The Norwegian yacht Innovation Kvaerner is recovering after a dramatic night in the Whitbread Round the World Race yesterday when crew member Alby Pratt was lost overboard for seven minutes.

Pratt was swept into the sea as he tried to carry out a change of sails, while on the all-female yacht, EF Education, Leah Newbold was left hanging upside down by her safety harness 23 metres up the mast.

Both sailors recovered without serious injury, with Innovation Kvaerner managing to hang on to third position as the third stage of the race nears completion.

Innovation Kvaerner skipper Knut Frostad said: "In a sail-change to slow us down, one of our crew members got washed overboard. Quick response from the crew and the practice we had done prior to the Whitbread made it possible to recover him in just seven minutes.

"We were all very happy to have Alby back on board. He is in good shape and had stayed calm during the whole manoeuvre."

Newbold was reported to be "badly shaken and bruised" but is recovering aboard EF Education, which is last in the fleet in ninth place.

Swedish Match and EF Language are battling it out for the stage lead as the race heads for Sydney.

The leader is expected to cross the line by Sydney Opera House at around 10.30 GMT today, with Swedish Match currently in first position, 3.9 miles ahead of EF Language.

British yacht Silk Cut, in fourth place, has come back from falling into sixth position overnight and is now only 0.6 miles behind Innovation Kvaerner.