Sailing: Golding forced to settle for third after run of bad luck

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The Independent Online

The neck-and-neck battle between the Anglo-French pairing of Alex Thomson and Roland Jourdain and the British pair of Mike Golding and Brian Thompson went all the way to the finish of the Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre to Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, yesterday.

Once again, Golding had to settle for what might have been. His new, Merfyn Owen-designed Open 60 Ecover had led for the first week but, at the halfway point of the 4,300 miles he lost two of three spinnaker sails within a couple of hours. The third went three days later.

That allowed the race winners, Jean-Pierre Dick and Nicolas Abiven, to slip away in a yacht designed by New Zealand's Bruce Farr.

Then one of the stays holding up Golding's mast failed and, while the boat was stopped for repairs, Thomson and Jourdain slipped by and hung on to second place by less than 20 minutes.