Sailing: Dalton gambles on a southerly approach home

Placing their bets, the eight yachts on the seventh leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Annapolis to La Rochelle fanned out over the the north-west Atlantic yesterday in a bid to position themselves for the free ride northwards that is the Gulf Stream.

Placing their bets, the eight yachts on the seventh leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Annapolis to La Rochelle fanned out over the the north-west Atlantic yesterday in a bid to position themselves for the free ride northwards that is the Gulf Stream.

There was over three hours between first and last as they popped out of Chesapeake Bay on Sunday. Leading the charge was Grant Dalton, but he was already prepared to sacrifice that lead as he held Amer Sports One on a more southerly course. Within a few hours he was back in sixth , although he did claw back to fifth.

Dalton's game plan will have been set before he left the dock at the Maryland sailing mecca and only he will know whether his progress on the water has matched the route the computer had predicted on land.

Moving up as front-runner was Neal McDonald in Assa Abloy, taking the more easterly route and overtaking his toughest rival, the overall leader John Kostecki in illbruck, only for the two to swap back.

With the wind expected to veer more to the north-west, the conditions were expected to become more gritty as well as fast as the night progressed.

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