Sun, Nov 26, 2006 - Page 22 News List

After rescuing sailing rival, broken mast slows Golding

AP , GOSPORT, ENGLAND

British yachtsman Alex Thomson was rescued on Friday from his crippled yacht on the icy Southern Ocean by Mike Golding, another competitor in the Velux 5 Oceans solo around-the-world race.

PHOTO: AP

British sailor Mike Golding, who led a dramatic rescue on Friday in the Velux 5 Oceans race, struggled later in the day after the mast on his yacht broke into two places.

Golding turned back from his second-place position in the nearly 56,000km race to pick up rival Alex Thomson, a British sailor in the stricken Hugo Boss yacht.

About six hours after the rescue, Golding reported that the mast on his yacht Ecover had broken in two places.

"I feel very sorry for Mike though obviously it's not ideal for me either to go from one disaster to another," Thomson said. "We've just got to get this mast down now and get under easy sail tonight [Friday] and get some rest."

The two joined forces on Golding's yacht to repair the damage.

"I think Mike is glad I am here because otherwise he'd have to go up the mast," Thomson joked.

The mainsail remained intact with Golding and Thomson working to get under sail, officials said.

"This just doesn't seem terribly fair after what has happened in the last day and what we have both been through," Golding said. "The last thing Alex wanted to do was get plunged into the middle of another problem ... We are fortunate that we have been left with the tools to continue sailing and make some choices about where we are going."

Race officials said the two were working to get under sail and would begin heading northwest to Cape Town, South Africa, some 1,600km away.

The rescue took place after Thomson's keel failed, causing his boat to capsize on Thursday.

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