Britons breeze through

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Sailing

STUART ALEXANDER

Britain's John Merricks and Ian Walker barely had to exert themselves to qualify for the gold fleet in the World 470 Championships in Porto Alegre, Brazil. "We didn't do the last race in order to keep our finely tuned bodies in shape," said a tongue-in-cheek Walker, adding they also wanted to keep their sails as fresh as possible.

In the women's group, Bethan Raggatt and Sue Carr are still struggling to find their form. They will be disappointed to be lying 23rd out of the 36.

In Morges, Switzerland, the organisers of the Grand Mistral round the world race, scheduled to start this September, said that a fourth entry, Team of Russia, had announced sponsorship support from Aeroflot and Vnukovo Airlines.

Sam Brewster's attempt to sail Heath Insured round the world singlehanded west-about against the prevailing wind and currents was made no easier when both her staysail and a mainsail batten were damaged in winds of up to 60 knots in the southern ocean west of Cape Horn.

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