Sailing: Fanstone holds off Dalton for first win

Click to follow
The Independent Online

From dodging icebergs in the Southern Ocean to a nerve-racking game of dodgems with freighters and barges up Chesapeake Bay, Britain's Jez Fanstone in News Corp notched up his first Volvo Ocean Race leg win in the dead of night here yesterday. He remained composed over the last 120 miles of the 875-mile course up the eastern seaboard of the United States from Miami to hold off a determined challenge from Grant Dalton in Amer Sports One.

Still holding the overall lead, despite finishing fourth here, was John Kostecki in illbruck, though he faces the additional threat of a protest from Neal McDonald in Assa Abloy, third on this leg and still holding second overall, for sailing into the exclusion zone at the start.

Kostecki described the complaint as "ridiculous" and promised to fight it all the way.

The win was sweet for Fanstone, who said it represented a reward for three years work by himself and the crew. Among them are some well-known British names, including Matt Humphries, Gordon Maguire and Stuart Childerley.

This was Childerley's first foray into the Volvo and he clearly enjoyed it as much as the rest of the crew enjoyed having him join the team. He has a business to run in the UK, but gave strong indications that he would like to stay with the boat for its next leg, across the Atlantic to La Rochelle.

While still fretting about the design characteristics of his boat, Dalton was clearly relieved at the improved performance, his third second place in six legs, and even more relieved that the gamble of leaving most of his headsails ashore to save 400kg in weight – he carried only two – had paid off. Quite properly, he paid tribute to his weather guru, Roger Badham.

Looking almost as happy with third as he had with first into Miami, McDonald could reflect on a second consecutive win over illbruck and he kept his rival dangling, refusing to confirm whether he would pursue the protest or not. Dalton believes the race for first is over and it is all about second and third now. McDonald is still hoping Kostecki will trip up.

It was a hot morning before Gunnar Krantz finished in SEB and that left three still struggling to complete the final miles. Kevin Shoebridge would be most disappointed as Tyco lurched down the leader board. Knut Frostad, while holding off the all-woman crew of Amer Sports Too, has resigned himself to a painful delivery back to Scandinavia in djuice.

VOLVO OCEAN RACE: Leg six (875 nautical miles, Miami to Baltimore) final positions: 1 News Corp (J Fanstone); 2 Amer Sports One (G Dalton); 3 Assa Abloy (N McDonald); 4 illbruck (J Kostecki); 5 SEB (G Krantz); 6 Tyco (K Shoebridge); 7 djuice (K Frostad); 8 Amer Sports Too (L McDonald). Overall standings after six legs: 1 illbruck 41pts; 2 Assa Abloy 34; 3 Amer Sports One 32; 4 News Corp 31; 5 Tyco 27; 6 SEB 22; 7 djuice 21; 8 Amer Sports Too 9.