Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was back in fifth place last night on the 12,200-mile first leg of the Velux 5 Oceans round-the-world race from Bilbao to Fremantle, despite taking over three days to repair mast and electronics damage.
He was still 1,200 miles behind the leader, Bernard Stamm of Switzerland, who was less than 300 miles from the Cape Verde Islandshaving weathered the early storms which sent four of the six who started a week ago back to Spain to fix damage, mainly to sails.
In second was Japan's Kojiro Shiraishi, 280 miles behind, while Mike Golding and Alex Thomson reduced their deficits to 640 and 680 miles. Spain's Unai Basurko de Miguel announced he was making a second stop, this time at Vigo, to repair his autopilots.
In St Malo there was a crowded but orderly start to the 3,540-mile Route du Rhum transatlantic race. Among the leaders of the open 60s was Britain's Brian Thompson.
Out in front in the 60ft trimarans was the race favourite and past winner, Michel Desjoyeaux. Thompson hopes to complete the course to Guadeloupe in 12 to 14 days.