Sailing: Golding hits 'whale' but holds on to second place

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Back in the wars, Mike Golding yesterday reported bow damage to his new Open 60 Ecover when he hit what he described as a UFO and speculated that it could have been a whale.

Golding is lying second in the singlehanded Défi Atlantique Race back from Bahia da Salvador, Brazil, to La Rochelle, on the west coast of France, an event which will also qualify him for next year's Vendée Globe singlehanded, non-stop round-the-world race.

He is continuing to race, in second place, 31 miles behind Vincent Rious and still holding a 50-mile advantage over third-placed Sébastien Josse. But expected to make for the Cape Verde Islands was the recent winner of the Jacque Vabre race, Jean-Pierre Dick, after his new Bruce Farr-designed Virbac was dismasted.

Team New Zealand and their Olympic squad sailor Dan Slater is facing suspension or a complete ban from the sport after being found guilty of e-mailing fellow competitors at the recent world championships of sailing in Cadiz asking them to "gang up" on his rival for selection for the Athens Games next year, Andrew Murdoch.