Sailing: Fleet jostle for position

A cat and mouse game was in progress last night as the top six of the eight yachts on the eighth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race which started in La Rochelle, picked their way through flukey light airs, separated by at most a handful of miles, sometimes by just a few hundred yards. It will take just one yard to earn an extra point as they cross the finish line, which makes things like picking up clumps of seaweed which can only be cleared by stopping the boat that much more frustrating.

A cat and mouse game was in progress last night as the top six of the eight yachts on the eighth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race which started in La Rochelle, picked their way through flukey light airs, separated by at most a handful of miles, sometimes by just a few hundred yards. It will take just one yard to earn an extra point as they cross the finish line, which makes things like picking up clumps of seaweed which can only be cleared by stopping the boat that much more frustrating.

Slight changes in wind strength or angle, plus being in exactly the right gear, in the form of sail size and shape, translate into yards gained or lost, with seasickness again causing problems.

Heading fast for Santa Margherita, Genoa, last night and a win in the Rubicon Race from Lorient was Roland Jourdain in Sill, with Bernard Stamm second in Bobst. A disastrous move to the south by Nick Moloney in Ellen MacArthur's Kingfisher, was made only marginally better as he moved up to fourth from fifth after Simone Bianchetti's Tiscali was dismasted.

VOLVO OCEAN RACE: Leg 8 (positions, with miles to the finish): =1 illbruck (J Kostecki), Assa Abloy (N McDonald) 245; 3 Tyco (K Shoebridge) 246; 4 News Corp (J Fanstone) 247; 5 SEB (G Krantz) 249; 6 Amer Sports One (G Dalton) 251; 7 djuice (K Frostad) 269; 8 Amer Sports Too (L McDonald) 399.

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