Sailing: Sanderson leads the sad procession

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The Independent Online

The Volvo Race has turned into a funeral procession for the final 600 miles of the seventh leg from New York to Portsmouth. The leader, Mike Sanderson, has eased back - though he still topped 500 miles in 24 hours - as the whole ABN Amro team comes to terms with the death of Hans Horrevoets on ABN 2. Neal McDonald, second on Ericsson, emphasised the need now to ensure that he delivers his crew and boat safely home.

Sébastien Josse, the skipper of ABN Amro 2, has still to say where he wants to make landfall with the body. The local coroner will regard the yacht as a crime scene until the cause of death is established. Josse will probably bypass Ireland and pull into England.

When Horrevoets, 32, was washed overboard in the black of the midnight hours of Thursday morning, four yachts were asked by the race director, Andy Hindley, to divert in case their help was needed. Ahead, Paul Cayard's Pirates of the Caribbean and Torben Grael's Brasil 1 turned back to go upwind towards ABN's known man overboard position. Behind, Bouwe Bekking's movistar and Matt Humphries' Brunel, both of which have been struggling with ripped mainsails, changed course. None was needed and all were quickly stood down.

Sanderson was due, at dawn today, to bank the maximum 3.5 points for being first past the scoring gate which is The Lizard. Seven more are on offer in Portsmouth tonight.