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Page last updated at 15:59 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 16:59 UK

OSTAR leaders approaching States

Hannah White
Hannah White is among the leading contenders in the OSTAR

The leading boats in the 2009 OSTAR transatlantic race are closing in on the finish at Newport, Rhode Island.

Dutch sailor Jankee Lampe remains out in front on La Promesse, with British sailor Rob Craigie the closest challenger on Jbellino.

Italian Roberto Westerman and Britain's Hannah White are placed third and fourth ahead of the main pack.

The 2009 OSTAR started from Plymouth on 25 May and the majority of boats are expected to finish by 14 June.

A low pressure system has been affecting the competitors over the past two days with many reporting an "OSTAR gale" as they passed through the Grand Banks off Newfoundland.

Rob Craigie wrote on his blog that he feared "something was likely to break" such was the severity of the storm on Saturday night.

On Monday, Hannah White said clearing the Grand Banks was a cause for celebration, while 22-year-old Katie Miller said "the gale was much worse than anticipated".

She added: "I've never had quite so much water in the boat, which was scary to say the least."

Devon sailors Mervyn Wheatley and Peter Crowther both remain in the middle of the fleet.

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