Sailing: Augin enters the final stretch

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Britain's Pete Goss yesterday began the 1,200-mile haul up to Hobart after his rescue of the Frenchman Raphael Dinelli from a sinking yacht in the Vendee Globe singlehanded non-stop round the world race.

As Goss set off, the race leader Christophe Augin was closing on Cape Horn and approaching the last stretch up through the southern Atlantic, across the doldrums and on to the finish at Les Sables d'Olonne.

Augin has a 1,000-mile lead over the Canadian Gerry Roufs in a race which has again taken a heavy toll on equipment and personnel. Goss will be given time compensation both for his 150-mile dash to pick up Dinelli and the diversion to drop him off.

Also on a last stretch is Mike Golding (Group 4), who leads the second leg of the BT Challenge from Rio de Janeiro to Wellington. He should arrive tomorrow with a lead of at least 50 miles over second-placed Andy Hindley (Save the Children) and a considerable increase in his advantage over Simon Walker (Toshiba).

Walker trails by more than 140 miles in third place, having been second by less than three hours on the first leg from Southampton.

Also heading for Tasmania are the Hong Kong yacht Exile and the German maxi Morning Glory, the leaders of the Sydney to Hobart race.

Exile has staged a remarkable recovery in rough seas since restarting the race on Thursday because she jumped the start. The green-hulled yacht, skippered by Australian expatriate Warwick Miller, took the lead yesterday but was expected to be overtaken overnight by the maxi.

Tasmania is also the destination for the favourites of the Melbourne to Hobart race which started yesterday. The Royal Navy's team is skippered by Mickey Broughton.