Knee injury fails to knock Caffari off course

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The Independent Online

Fears that Dee Caffari may have to pull out of the Vendée Globe singlehanded round the world race because of a swollen and infected knee receded yesterday after an intense course of anto-biotics onboard her Open 60, Aviva.

"I knew it was serious and that if I didn't catch it in time the consequences could be horrendous, so I am very relieved it is better," she said. "I still have to be careful and am shuffling everywhere on my bum. I am wearing a knee pad all the time and trying to stay off it, but it is amazing how many times you wedge yourself using your knee - I never realised how much I did it."

An increase in pace for the top dozen boats saw the lead of Sébastien Josse put under pressure by another Frenchman Yann Elies as they charged to the first ice gate in the Southern Ocean.

Click below to listen to Stuart Alexander talk to Dee Caffari

Josse, the chosen driver for Ellen MacArthur's Offshore Challenges in BT had shaken off the three-week challenge from Loick Peyron in Gitana Eighty only to find his rival charging up on his three knots faster at 16 knots.

Mike Golding, in ninth place in Ecover, was hanging on to the leading group, but 110 miles behind Josse. He had a cushion of a further 80 miles over Michel Desjoyeaux, winner in 2000 when MacArthur was second and who had to go back for repairs soon after the start from les Sables d'Olonne on 9 November.

Brian Thompson is still 13th in Bahrain Team Pindar, followed by Sam Davies in Roxy and Caffari. In 18th, Steve White in Spirit of Weymouth has managed to regain the place he lost to Jonny Malbon's Artemis.

Team Russia, skippered by Andreas Hanakamp, was the last of the eight boats in the Volvo round the world race to finish leg two from Cape Town to Kochi, south-west India. Very obstacle had fallen its way, leaving a compressed schedule for repairs.

The third 1,950-mile leg to Singapore starts 13 December, and expected to take less than 10 days, takes the fleet through the joint piracy and fishing net hazards of the Malacca Strait.

Standings after two legs: 1, Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael) 26pts; 2, Telefonica Blue (Bouwe Bekking), 19; 3, Puma (Kenny Read) 18; 4, Green Dragon (Ian Walker) 16; 5, Ericsson 3 (Anders Lewander) 14.5; 6, Telefonica Black (Fernando Echevarri) 13.5; 7, Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez), 7.5; 8, Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp) 6.5.