Sailing: West is best for Hains: Challenge leaders in fight to finish

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The Independent Online
THE RACE to be first into Southampton between Group 4 and Commercial Union showed no sign of slackening yesterday even though the British Steel Challenge round the world fleet had run into fading winds.

The two fourth-leg leaders were separated by only one mile and looking good for a close finish off Dock Head on Sunday afternoon. Group 4 had the edge with 571 miles to go, but with both yachts still making 8.8 knots it was anyone's race.

Nuclear Electric, the overall leader after three legs, was 29 miles behind Commercial Union and five miles ahead of Peter Phillips and his crew on Rhone- Poulenc. British Steel's decision to sail the most 'imaginative' and most westerly course of the 10-boat fleet - a reflection of the 'free-thinking personalities on board', according to Rob Haines - has left them in position for a late breakthrough if the forecast for moderate winds in the Channel by Sunday proves correct.

BRITISH STEEL CHALLENGE Fourth leg (Cape Town to Southampton; positions with miles to the finish): 1 Group 4 571; Commercial Union 572; 3 Nuclear Electric 601; 4 Rhone-Poulenc 606; 5 British Steel II 609; 6 Coopers & Lybrand 651; 7 Hofbrau 682; 8 Pride of Teesside 694; 9 InterSpray 732; 10 Heath Insured 1,141.

Information supplied by BT.