Sailing: MacArthur holds Golding at bay

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The Independent Online

The battle royal between Ellen MacArthur and Mike Golding continued throughout yesterday as their yachts headed south through the Bay of Biscay towards Cape Finisterre, 48 hours and 450 miles into the Transat Jacques Vabre. MacArthur, partnering Roland Jourdain, was still just five miles ahead as Golding, with Switzerland's Dominique Wavre, was holding a position slightly further north as the leaders all turned west.

The top four remained the same. Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron hung on to third chased by Jean le Cam and Kito de Pavant. There was then a further gap, but Brian Thompson and Will Oxley could count themselves as part of the leading group after a stint of the kind of upwind work they will be glad to see come to an end.

"We had a tough start with everything from five to 55 knots," MacArthur said. "We have not spent much time in our bunks, just snatching sleep in oilskins on the floor.

"The boat is fine, as are we, if not a little knackered. No rest for the wicked tonight."

Looking forward to another 40-knot battering overnight, Golding said: "We are well into the rhythm of the race. We have tried to prepare ourselves as best as possible."

As the only pair of women in the 60-foot monohull class, Miranda Merron and her team-mate, the French sailor Anne Liardet, said that, after a testing first night, they were enjoying the longer Atlantic swells.

"We are in for another wet and wild night of upwind slamming," Merron said,adding "but once that's through..."