Sailing: Fanstone in rear after restarting

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Fast conditions saw the eight yachts in the Volvo Ocean Race scorching their way north from here yesterday on the 875-mile dash of the sixth leg up the east coast of the United States to Baltimore.

But not before six of them were recalled for a premature start. Only the all-woman crew of Amer Sports Too, and the yacht lying second overall, Neal McDonald's Assa Abloy timed it correctly, Lisa McDonald leading her husband Neal into the first turning mark under spinnaker. John Kostecki's illbruck, was first to realise the error and turn back to restart, putting him third.

Also quickest to recover was Grant Dalton in Amer Sports One, followed by Gunnar Krantz in SEB, Knut Frostad in djuice and Kevin Shoebridge in Tyco. Last away, paying for being furthest ahead at the first attempt, was Jez Fanstone in News Corp.

If the yachts were to maintain their speed at the start, it would be all over in under three days, but that, too, would mean an overnight finish in Baltimore, when the wind conditions are at their most unpredictable. With illbruck enjoying an eight-point overall lead, the pressure is on the chasing trio of Assa Abloy, Amer Sports One and Tyco, each separated by one point, not only to try to grind down some of that lead but to protect their own positions and improve on them.

The remaining three legs will take the fleet across the Atlantic to La Rochelle, up the North Sea to Gothenburg and down the Baltic to Kiel.