Sailing: Damage to Pindar ends Brazil race for Richards

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The Independent Online

As Mike Golding was celebrating his continuing lead in the Transat Jacques Vabre with a full English breakfast, Emma Richards was seeking only tea and sympathy as she had to pull out of the two-handed race to Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, less than 48 hours after the start in Le Havre.

Rough conditions in the Channel continued to take their toll but Richards, the Independent columnist, and her co-skipper, Mike Sanderson, were particularly hard hit as first their electronic instruments were knocked out and then around 3,000 litres of water drained into the hull of the new Pindar after a hose broke. That wrecked the autopilot electronics and the boat limped into Brest yesterday morning.

"When we saw the weather forecast before the start on Saturday we joked that we had about a 50-50 chance of surviving the first four days, and unfortunately, that has proved to be the case," Richards said. "As our wind instruments weren't working we didn't know for certain the strength of the wind, but we were clearly sailing in boat-breaking conditions."

Also forced to retire was the 50-foot trimaran of Ross Hobson and Andi Newman, Mollymawk, and the dismasted Open 60 Objectif 3, which was originally Josh Hall's Gartmore but more recently served as the Pindar in which Richards completed the Around Alone race.

Golding and his co-skipper, Brian Thompson, are maintaining a 12.5-mile lead over Alex Thomson and the 2001 winner, Roland Jourdain, in Sill.

In Le Havre, the skippers of the 17 60-foot trimarans are reassembling after their start on Saturday was postponed. They are due to leave tomorrow at 10am and have had their course reduced by 1,000 miles as the dogleg around Ascension Island has been abandoned.