Sailing: Golding's rush towards finish

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WITH a lead of 100 miles and an increase in speed over the last 24 hours, Mike Golding and the crew of Group 4 have this morning just two more days before the finish of the third leg of the British Steel Challenge in Cape Town.

Although their lead has been halved by the second-placed Hofbrau, only some very bad luck should deny them the Infolink Trophy for which they have been front-runners for most of the 5,500 miles from Hobart.

Only John Chittenden, in Nuclear Electric, is capable of passing Pete Goss, in Hofbrau, as there is a further 100-mile gap behind Chittenden and a group of four yachts spread over just 35 miles.

In Long Beach, California, Rod Davis won his second Omega match racing grand prix title of the season to take his fourth Congressional Cup. The Kiwi silver medallist in Barcelona, originally from San Diego, beat the local rookie, Steve Grillon, of Redondo Beach, with France's Bertrand Pace third and Roy Heiner, of the Netherlands, fourth. Britain's Eddie Warden Owen was fifth.

Nik Burfoot, who qualifies for Britain through residency, was leading the Laser World Championship in his native New Zealand after five of the seven races. In the Laser Radial, Britain's Allan Coutts is lying second to New Zealand's Daniel Slater.

The Frenchman, Bruno Peyron, in Commodore Explorer, put fears about damp and damage to his 85ft catamaran behind him, and decided against stopping in New Zealand. He is now four days ahead of schedule to sail around the world in well under the 80 days needed to win the Jules Verne Trophy.

BRITISH STEEL CHALLENGE Third leg (Hobart to Cape Town): Positions (with miles to the finish): 1 Group 4 471; 2 Hofbrau 591; 3 Nuclear Electric 594; 4 Commercial Union 705; 5 British Steel II 713; 6 Rhone-Poulenc 716; 7 Coopers & Lybrand 733; 8 Heath Insured 743; 9 InterSpray 798; 10 Pride of Teesside 1,019. Information supplied by BT.