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Van Liew sails to Class 2 win

Van Liew's third leg victory keeps him at the top of the table.
Van Liew's third leg victory keeps him at the top of the table.

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Interactive: Profiles: Around Alone solo sailors 

TAURANGA, New Zealand -- American Brad van Liew took his third consecutive leg win in the Around Alone race when he arrived in Tauranga ahead of his Class 2 rivals.

Sailing Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America, van Liew took 32 days, 16 hours and 5 minutes to complete one of the toughest legs of the five-leg, 28,775 nautical mile single-handed race.

Despite starting a few hours late out of Cape Town on December 14 with sail problems, van Liew soon moved into the lead.

Since leaving Cape Town on the 7,125 nautical mile leg van Liew has sailed away from the rest of the class with his nearest competitor, Tim Kent on Everest Horizontal, still several hundred miles from the finish.

Van Liew was the third skipper to arrive on Thursday in Tauranga and was welcomed at the dockside by the final two finishers of Class 1, Briton Emma Richards and American Bruce Schwab, who both finished a few hours earlier.

Approaching New Zealand, van Liew briefly overtook Richards and Schwab, but eventually their extra 3m (10ft) length took them ahead.

Schwab beat Richards by just two hours after a month at sea.

Richards, the youngest competitor and sole woman in the race, had a tough third leg on Pindar, slowly dropping back from third to sixth with a succession of problems with her mainsail and autopilots.

Van Liew, like runaway Class 1 leader Bernard Stamm, now has his third leg win and it looks like only a major disaster can stop him continuing to dominate Class 2 to the finish in Newport, Rhode Island, U.S. in early May.

The next leg begins from Tauranga on February 9 for the 7,850-mile journey to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.

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