Sailing: Golding still holds out hope

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The Independent Online
THE British Steel Challenge corner of Hobart's Elizabeth Street Pier is now busily populated by seven of the round-the-world yachts after Group 4, Pride of Teesside and Heath Insured all completed their near-9,000 mile voyages from Rio yesterday, writes Stuart Alexander.

Group 4 has pulled back remarkably well from being backmarker when she had to go into Florianopolis, southern Brazil, for two days early in the leg when she was first to suffer a mast forestay rigging screw failure. The replacement also failed.

Skipper Mike Golding feels they are still in a with a chance of recording the best accumulated time for the four legs. They were three hours and 11 minutes ahead of Pride of Teesside after a week of very close racing as Teesside was caught in light airs and was even becalmed for a while just 200 yards from the finish line.

'Leg two lived up to its reputation as the toughest yacht race ever,' Golding said. 'Thankfully we have arrived in Hobart with no serious problems, no one hurt and in a strong competitive position.'

The eighth yacht, InterSpray, was expected overnight and the ninth, Rhone-Poulenc, is still expected on Saturday. That leaves only the 10th, British Steel II, to make the journey from Wellington, New Zealand, where she has picked up a temporary wooden mast.

BRITISH STEEL CHALLENGE ROUND-THE- WORLD RACE: Second leg (Rio de Janeiro to Hobart): Finishing times (GMT) and positions (with miles to finish): 1 Nuclear Electric 3 Jan 14.26:03; 2 Commercial Union 4 Jan 00.20:21; 3 Hofbrau 5 Jan 02.29:55; 4 Coopers & Lybrand 5 Jan 08.43:19; 5 Group 4 5 Jan 20.47:11; 6 Pride of Teesside 5 Jan 23.58:20; 7 Heath Insured 6 Jan 05.59:06; 8 InterSpray 85 miles; 9 Rhone-Poulenc 565. British Steel II dismasted.

(Information supplied by BT).