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News Corp Yacht Loses Rudder

February 15, 2002

SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) _ One yacht lost a rudder and another headed to port for repairs Friday as the fleet approached Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the Volvo Ocean round-the-world race.

News Corp’s rudder snapped off below the hull Thursday as the boat was sailing at speeds of up to 22 knots. There was no other damage and no injuries to the crew.

While the cause of the mishap was unclear, race organizers said the yacht’s earlier collision with an iceberg in the Southern Ocean may have been a factor.

News Corp continued to race, maintaining a speed of 13.2 knots and keeping up with the rest of the eight-boat fleet, and is expected to reach Rio within eight days.

The Swedish yacht SEB was set to arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile, for repairs after losing a mast earlier in the leg.

The rest of the fleet was making its way downwind toward Rio on the fourth leg of the race from Auckland, New Zealand. The leaders are expected to arrive Monday.

With less than 1,000 miles to go, the German yacht Illbruck _ skippered by American John Kostecki _ held a 78-mile lead over Tyco, with Amer Sports One, Djuice and Assa Abloy close behind.

News Corp was in sixth place, followed by Amer Sports Two and SEB.

Illbruck won the first two legs and is the overall leader.

The Volvo race is a nine-leg, 32,700-mile race around the globe. It started in Southampton, England, on Sept. 23 and is due to finish in Kiel, Germany in June.

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