At the end of 6,600 miles from Rio de Janeiro to Wellington, Golding's Group 4 ran into light airs and what had been a substantial lead was cut to two hours and 52 minutes as Andy Hindley (Save the Children) closed in. Simon Walker (Toshiba) crossed third, 16hr 20min 11sec behind Golding, with Mark Lodge (Motorola) the only other yacht expected to finish last night.
The rest of the 14 are spread over 400 miles, watchful for any after- effects of Hurricane Fergus but pleased to see a maximum of 30 knots to speed the next group to a New Year celebration.
Pete Goss is expected to drop the rescued Raphael Dinelli in Hobart next Monday as the Vendee Globe leader, Christophe Augin, continues his unchallenged lead with 9,600 miles to the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne.
Mervyn Wheatley (Thermopylae) holds a four-mile lead over Andrew "Spud" Spedding (Blackadder) 150 miles into the fifth leg of the Clipper '96 race. It takes the eight 60-footers some 4,000 miles from the Galapagos Islands to Honolulu.Reuse content