British pair on par with US

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Weymouth Bay was in its usual tricky mood for the opening day of the Glenfiddich Melges 24 National Championship yesterday, but leading the charge for Britain, and mixing a little luck with a lot of canny judgement, were John Merricks and Ian Walker, writes Stuart Alexander.

The 1996 silver medallists at the Atlanta Olympics are also up to their ears preparing to drive Tim Barratt's Mumm 36 Bradamante for Britain's Admiral's Cup team in a fortnight.

But they clocked up two seconds and a third in a trio of races, each of which they led at some stage, that saw the breeze pumping between six and 15 knots.

These good results could not stop the Americans, Art Brereton and Tom Freytag, both now British-based, from scoring two firsts and a sixth to join Merricks and Walker in joint first.