Sailing: UK syndicate gets serious

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The Independent Online
Spirit of Britain, the United Kingdom's Challenger for America's Cup in 1999/2000 yesterday announced it would be paying a further $250,000 (pounds 150,000) Performance Bond. The bond, which is required from every competitor, has been lodged with the America's Cup Challenge Association.

The core management team, which heads a rapidly expanding group, comprises syndicate chairman Professor Alan Graves, and Professor Alyson Warhurst, both of University of Bath, Angus Melrose, designer Ian Howlett, skipper Lawrie Smith, lawyer Richard Butcher and David Dent.

In addition to the co-founding technical partners who were announced in September 1997 - namely the Universities of Bath, Bristol and Southampton, DERA, Parametric Technology Corporation and Silicon Graphics Limited - the project has subsequently received technical support from British Aerospace, WS Atkins, SP Technologies and Lewmar Marine.

A presentation yesterday at Silicon Graphics, Reading, featured a virtual reality "walk through" of the boat. Tank testing of the initial set of models is scheduled to begin in March at the DERA Centre for Marine Technology, Haslar.

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