Sailing: Wind turns race into lottery

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NERVES were becoming frayed on the Whitbread race track last night as the final stages of the eighth leg from Annapolis to La Rochelle turned into a lottery. At the front, Paul Standbridge in Toshiba and Lawrie Smith in Britain's Silk Cut watching anxiously as the fickle wind caused all sorts of problems.

For the previous leader, Grant Dalton, it had been "a dark day on board as Merit Cup had watched overnight the boats in the north hold [wind] pressure longer and sail away from us''.

No one could say with certainty who would be first into a French town eagerly awaiting their arrival, or even when. Even more uncertain was how points would be allocated by the time all nine had finished.