Canadian skipper Eric Holden is the leader in a race around the world.
The 33-year-old Vancouver native and his Henri Lloyd team are in first place after Race 4 of the 16-race Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
Holden finished the 5,000-mile race from Cape Town, South Africa, to Albany just 27 minutes behind the winners from Great Britain, but his second-place finish was good enough to secure first overall, three points clear of the Brits.
Holden kept up the pressure to the very end of in what was the toughest race of the series. The race took the fleet through the perilous Roaring Forties– strong westerly winds in the Southern Hemisphere – where numerous storms saw hurricane force gusts of up to 130 knots.
"It's been a very challenging but rewarding race. Everyone feels like they have achieved a real accomplishment," Holden said. "It was a close battle with Great Britain, and when a squall hit and they gybed away, our kite got doused which slowed us down and they got away and we couldn't catch them. To win, you risk equipment damage and we have none so are really happy."
Holden, the weather forecaster for the Canadian sailing team at the 2012 London Olympics, already set a new speed record of 30.7 knots four days into Race 2, which travelled from Brest, France to Rio de Janeiro.
This is the ninth edition of the race, which started Sept. 1 in London in front of a crowd of 120,000 people.
The race visits 12 countries, covering 40,000 miles over 11 months. Race 5 to Sydney starts Dec. 3.