Sailing: Danby and Golding close in on the leaders

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A TENSE final 24 hours saw Britain's Mike Golding and Ed Danby make a push for second place in the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre yesterday.

With less than 500 miles to the finish, they were the fastest of the four leading Open 60 monohulls in Team Group 4 but had to pass both Roland Jourdain and Jean le Cam in Sill and Thomas Coville and Herve Jan in Sodebo. Still in the lead were Catherine Chabaud and Luc Bartissol in Whirlpool. With the wind forecast to stay true, all four should complete the 4,420- mile trip from Le Havre by the early hours of tomorrow.

Also making good time were Ellen MacArthur and Yves Parlier in Kingfisher Aquitaines. But time lost earlier in the race has put them a further 400 miles behind and they may not arrive until Sunday.

One of the tactics being used, said Golding, was to try and read the differing weather patterns under banks of cloud. The most prized are "hammerheads", which can have stronger winds at their edges. "Last evening we caught one, which we have been able to stay with for several hours," he said. "Sadly, the gains come with a little pain as the clouds leave a windless vacuum behind them. We are still riding this cloud now - so who knows?"