Sailing: Golding holds edge thanks to French leak

Britain's Mike Golding edged his Open 60 Ecover into the lead of the 2,800-mile Transat race from Plymouth to Boston yesterday but it was by yards rather than miles.

Britain's Mike Golding edged his Open 60 Ecover into the lead of the 2,800-mile Transat race from Plymouth to Boston yesterday but it was by yards rather than miles.

The previous leader, Jean-Pierre Dick, of France, in Virbac, is having to cope with a leak through one of his daggerboards and will have to be careful to nurse his boat as he is using the race to qualify for the non-stop, single-handed, round the world Vendée Globe in November.

However, both boats were showing the same distance to the finish, dropping through the 1,700-mile barrier. Lying third by six miles was the New Zealander Mike Sanderson and these three had established a 30-mile cushion over the remaining dozen monohulls.

In the big multihulls, the 2000 winner of the Vendée, Michel Desjoyeaux, was charging ahead in Géant. With less than 1,300 miles to go, he has a 60-mile advantage over Lalou Roucayrol on Banque Populaire with Thomas Coville third in Sodebo.

A South African challenge for the 2007 America's Cup was given official recognition yesterday by America's Cup Management, the organisation with the responsible for staging the 32nd competition in Valencia, Spain.

It joins Larry Ellison's BMW Oracle Racing and Clan Des of Italy. Called Team Shosholoza, led by an Italian, Salvatore Sarno, and based at the Royal Cape Yacht Club, this is the first time an African nation has mounted an officially recognised challenge in the 153-year history of the trophy.

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