Sailing: McDonald takes the honours at finish

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The Independent Online

Line honours in the Sydney to Hobart Race section of the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race went to Neal McDonald as he coaxed Assa Abloy through the light winds of the Derwent River to the finish line last night.

He was chased home by another Volvo competitor, Grant Dalton in Amer Sports One, neck and neck with the leading maxi, Nicorette, skippered by Ludde Ingvall.

Third Volvo was Kevin Shoebridge, who was still protesting about Tyco's disqualification from the Sydney to Hobart for not making a safety check call on time, but knowing that the ruling would not affect his bid for maximum points when he crosses the third leg finish in his home town of Auckland.

Two minutes behind Tyco was Jez Sanstone, in News Corp, 12 more separated them from Knut Frostad in djuice and he was two more ahead of John Kostecki in illbruck.

The damage already done, Gunnar Krantz and the crew of SEB could only rue the swings of fortune in this notorious 630-mile dash south yesterday as they completed the final few miles back to Eden on the south-east tip of Australia.

While they had retired from not just this race within a race, but the whole third leg of the Volvo after having lost their rudder in some more Bass Straits mayhem, the other seven boats in their fleet were struggling in light airs.

The calm after the storm had allowed not just seventh-placed Dalton to catch up, but even allowed the women in the repaired Amer Sports Too to enjoy the remains of better breeze.

They were still well behind in seventh, but the decision to continue to Hobart and make proper repairs there to the broken mast forestay looked a good one.

They will have to conform to rules that do not allow repairs at the dockside, even though they have to make a minimum three-and-a-half hour pit stop. And the overall leader, Kostecki, was champing to fix again a leaking forehatch.

Some early reports that SEB had lost her rudder completely were later reversed.

The rudder, which was saved, will be further inspected before a decision is taken over whether to make all the repairs in Australia and sail the boat directly to Auckland, or whether to ship the boat to New Zealand, where many of the shore crew have already arrived.

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