Sailing: Tenacious Golding relieved with third

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The Independent Online

Faster than expected, Mike Golding steered his Open 60 Ecover over the finish line of the Vendée Globe round the world race in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, just before dawn yesterday. He was met by his relieved family and shore team and secure third place after losing his keel 12 hours earlier and only 52 miles out.

Slower than she hoped, Ellen MacArthur was waiting for the wind to pick up again and push her first towards the Spanish coast and then north to Ushant for the finish of her bid to set a new record for sailing solo round the world in her 75-foot trimaran B&Q.

For MacArthur there are still things which could go wrong, and her margin in hand had been cut to two and a half days. She has until the early hours of Wednesday morning to complete the remaining 800 miles and stronger breezes, which will also become more favourable in direction, are forecast for tonight and tomorrow.

For Golding the last minute swipe of bad luck, if anything, made his achievement rather sweeter.

"Had I arrived on schedule, I perhaps would have felt more disappointed," he told a very supportive, largely French audience later in the morning. "But, in the nature of what has happened since then, having been faced with the potential not to finish the race and to have lost out on the chance to be third makes me now realise how good it is and how important it is to finish in third."

All things considered, Golding still managed to knock four and a half days off the previous race record, and refused entirely to rule out another crack at the race and said he had enjoyed "doing some serious damage" to his rivals in the Southern Ocean, even though the persistent threat of ice had "really scared the living daylights out of me".