Sailing: Fastnet in go-slow as wind proves elusive

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The Independent Online

The fleet formed a gently moving boat park going through Hurst Narrows at the western end of the Solent. At least they were going in the right direction as they cleared the Needles.

The three fastest away were the two 100-footers - Maximus, of New Zealand, and Wild Thing, of Australia - and the Volvo Race Open 70 movistar. Wild Thing only just made the start, the team having worked overnight and all morning on replacing some mast fittings.

The most competitive was the group of a dozen Open 60s. Emma Richards and Mike Sanderson on Pindar established a half-mile lead in the opening 20 minutes chased by two top contenders from France - Roland Jourdain in Sill, and Jean-Pierre Dick in Virbac, who then had to be towed off the shingle at Hurst.

But, with barely a zephyr down the track at Portland, many would also need to be practising anchor drills to avoid being swept backwards when the tide turned.