Sailing: Golding in no need of big blow

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While the rest of the BT Challenge round the world fleet was making preparations to counter any after-effects of Hurricane Fergus, Mike Golding (Group 4) was biting his fingernails and creeping the last few miles into Wellington yesterday at the end of the second leg from Rio de Janeiro to New Zealand.

He had also won the first leg from Southampton, but as the wind died his crew were struggling to make even one mile an hour. Stuck inshore, Golding could only wait as second-placed Andy Hindley (Save the Children) made over nine knots and cut the gap to less than 30 miles.

Even so, Golding should have established what could be a winning margin with more than half the distance yet to go. In the 1992-93 British Steel Challenge, John Chittenden broke away in Nuclear Electric and was never seriously challenged after reaching Hobart. The difference this time is the fifth leg from Cape Town to Boston which, although a warm water off- the-wind exercise, is also likely to be the most tactically difficult. The remains of the hurricane are moving down from Auckland towards Wellington, notorious at any time other than Golding's arrival for its blustery conditions. A storm warning of winds from 70 to 90 knots and a big easterly swell has been issued, but at the edges it is more like 30 knots.

Also making slow progress was Boris Webber (Courtaulds), 625 miles behind Golding and facing another four days at sea.