Sailing: Dalton fears big winds at the Horn

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Crews on the 6,700-mile fourth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race were bracing themselves for freezing gales and soaking conditions last night as they headed fast for Cape Horn, still 3,000 miles away. The good times which they have enjoyed since leaving Auckland were behind them and it will be all hard work until they are back in the Atlantic, heading for the sultry heat of Rio de Janeiro.

"We are expecting 30 knots from 200 degrees, straight out of the Antarctic ice," Paul Cayard said on Amer Sports One. Knut Frostad, skipper of djuice, said: "We are approaching fast the big mother of a cold front flying in from the west."

All the leading boats are still closely bunched, with just 10 miles separating the first seven. Amer was the first to pick up the breeze, putting them a mile ahead of Jez Fanstone in News Corp. But the Amer skipper, Grant Dalton, has already said his boat may have trouble hanging on to the others in really big winds.

As the man in whose footsteps he follows, the Finn gold medallist, Iain Percy, steadily improved during the first day of the Miami Olympic Classes regatta. Sixth overall after the opening three races, Andrew Simpson was leading the Finn class.

VOLVO OCEAN RACE Fourth leg (6,700 nautical miles, Auckland, NZ, to Rio de Janeiro, Br): 1 Amer Sports One (G Dalton), 5,709nm to finish; 2 News Corp (J Fanstone) 5,710; 3 SEB (G Krantz) 5,713; 4 Assa Abloy (N McDonald) 5,714; 5 illbruck (J Kostecki) 5,715; 6 djuice (K Frostad) 5,717; 7 Tyco (K Shoebridge) 5,719; 8 Amer Sports Too (L McDonald) 5,758.