Emma Richards has completed the penultimate leg of the Around Alone round-the-world race. The 28-year-old Briton crossed the finishing line of the fourth stage in Salvador, Brazil, in third place overall. The Independent columnist took five weeks to complete the fourth and toughest leg of the race, 8,000 miles across the Southern Ocean from New Zealand.
If she completes the final section to New York, she will become the first woman and youngest competitor to finish sailing's longest race. The 11 competitors, who started on their 29,000-mile voyage last September, depart on the final leg to Newport on 13 April.
On her 60ft yacht Pindar, Richards has already made history in the first leg of the race from New York to Torbay when she became the first woman to complete a single-handed west-to-east transatlantic crossing in a monohull.
During the first three stages of the race, Richards has overcome extreme weather and technical difficulties including a death-defying climb up her 80ft mast in the Atlantic Ocean during the second leg.
AROUND ALONE RACE Fourth leg (7,850 nautical miles, Tauranga, NZ, to Salvador, Br): Class One: 1 T Dubois (Fr) Solidaires (wins fourth leg; 10pts); 2 B Stamm (Swit) Armor Lux (crossed finish line first: 48-hour penalty means Dubois wins leg; 9pts); 3 S Bianchetti (It) Tiscali (finishes third; 8pts); 4 E Richards (GB) Pindar (finishes fourth; 7pts); 5 B Schwab (US) Ocean Planet 671.9nm to finish. Withdrawn: G Dalton (NZ) Hexagon. Class Two: 1 B van Liew (US) Tommy Hilfiger Freedom America (wins fourth leg; 10pts); 2 T Kent (US) Everest Horizontal 698.6nm to finish; 3 K Shiraishi (Japan) Spirit of yukoh 857.9nm to finish; 4 A Paris (Berm) BTC Velocity +1,576.6nm to finish. Withdrawn: D Hatfield (Can) Spirit Of Canada (because of second dismasting).