'Huge and horrible' seas test MacArthur

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The Independent Online

Driving rain and winds gusting up to 50 knots gave the 23 solo yachtsmen in the Vendée Globe race a tough weekend as they struggled to cope with the Bay of Biscay. However, there was no serious damage - either to people or boats - and many competitors reported that the testing conditions had helped them settle into the rhythm of the non-stop, 100-plus days job ahead.

Driving rain and winds gusting up to 50 knots gave the 23 solo yachtsmen in the Vendée Globe race a tough weekend as they struggled to cope with the Bay of Biscay. However, there was no serious damage - either to people or boats - and many competitors reported that the testing conditions had helped them settle into the rhythm of the non-stop, 100-plus days job ahead.

Still in third place is Britain's Ellen MacArthur, who had one of the hardest nights yet on board her new Open 60, Kingfisher, since it was launched in Auckland at the beginning of the year. "I am pretty exhausted and soaked through," she said. "Last night, when the front passed through, I was sailing up under storm jib and a double-reefed mainsail. The sea was huge and horrible."

The going was no easier for MacArthur's rival, Catherine Chabaud, who had to fix a keel swinging freely from side to side in the small hours.

Yves Parlier and Michel Desjoyeaux, who both opted to take a route closer to Cape Finisterre and the Spanish coast, continue to lead. MacArthur is on the same track, as is Josh Hall in seventh and Richard Tolkien in 12th.

Mike Golding, in 24th position, is expecting the replacement mast for Team Group 4 to arrive in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, today. He hopes to restart before the weekend and is aiming to break the race record of 105 days.

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