Sailing: ABN 1 edges clear in drag race

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But the dive south for the remaining five boats on the second leg of the Volvo Race from Cape Town to Melbourne had stopped with both the leg and overall leader, Mike Sanderson's ABN Amro 1, at 43 degrees. Even with two course points that are intended to keep the yachts north of the main iceberg threats, that contrasts with days gone by when the yachts pushed on to 50 degrees south both to shorten the distance round the globe and hook into even stronger winds.

Sanderson, with 1,000 of the 6,100 miles completed, is edging slowly further into the lead and was 16 miles ahead of Paul Cayard's Disney-backed Pirates of the Caribbean and another 14 in front of his stablemate ABN 2, skippered by Sébastien Josse.

That left the early leader Bouwe Bekking in the Spanish yacht movistar still playing catch-up, now 77 miles behind and ruing the decision to take early gains by staying north and pushing east in better breeze, rather than paying the price of going south in search of big westerlies.

The Australians were still in strife, but also still in the race. Adam Hawkes had to don a survival suit and dive in to cut a wayward spinnaker from the rudders. His reward was an eight-hour session at the sewing machine, stitching it back together.