'I owe him my life' - British yachtsman praises rival racer

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The Independent Online

A British yachtsman rescued from his stricken vessel in the Southern Ocean nine days ago, during a round-the-world solo race, said yesterday that he owed his life to the bitter rival who picked him up.

Alex Thomson's racer Hugo Boss was in third place in the Velux 5 Oceans marathon when it sank after capsizing. Mike Golding, 46, and his craft Ecover, in second place,turned and sailed 80 miles to pick Thomson up.

Golding then rejoined the race, but a few hours later found his mast broken in two places. The men had to sail 1,000 miles to Cape Town for repairs.

Golding, from Southampton, and Thomson, 32, from Gosport, have now reached South Africa. Thomson said: "We started not the best of friends ... and now I think we are great mates. I'm very grateful to him. I guess I'm buying the beers tonight."

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