Campos frightens theFrench : SAILING

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The Independent Online
The meeting of the two European syndicates in the second round of the Louis Vuitton Cup should have been a formality for the much stronger French, but, on a day of much tighter racing, they were made to work every inch of the way by Pedro Campos of Spain. Starting helmsman Bertrand Pace was outwitted in the jockeying for position and handed over to Marc Pajot dead in the water as Campos sped away to lead for four of the six legs. Only on the last upwind leg could Pajot attack and take control just before setting off on the final leg and a thin final cushion of 22 seconds.

And the all-Kiwi clash between Russell Coutts' Team New Zealand and Chris Dickson's Tag Heuer was also a tight run affair with less than 30 seconds between the two for most of the race. Though the margin at the end was 54 seconds, TNZ know that, though they remain unbeaten on the water, with his nose in front, Dickson could probably match them.

With helmsman Neville Wittey back home for the Australia Cup match racing, Michael Coxon took over on Sydney '95 and the British crewman, Neal McDonald, stood in for the owner Syd Fischer as navigator, and pulled back rival Australian John Bertrand's oneAustralia to a 23-second win.

The fuss over whether the Japanese made such extensive changes to the first of their two new yachts that it had virtually become a third new yacht was put aside by the international jury which decides these matters. Responding to a protest by Team New Zealand, they said that, short of offering up a whole new canoe body to an existing deck, there was, the way the rules are written now, virtually a green light on all changes.

The Kiwis said this was outside the spirit of rules devised to curb costs by limiting any syndicate to a maximum of two new yachts. The Japanese said they had been vindicated.

In an idiosyncratic move, the defenders will complete their second round robin today with each of the three contenders having met each other twice instead of three times. The win by Dennis Conner over America3 in the middle group of three races, when theother two races were postponed, will be forfeited. Conner was again made to work hard to beat Cubed yesterday.

CITIZEN CUP: Round Robin Two: Race 8: Team Dennis Conner bt America3 by 28sec.

LOUIS VUITTON CUP: Round Robin Two: Race 6: Team New Zealand bt Tag Heuer(NZ), by 54sec; France 3 bt Bayona-Valencia, by 22sec; oneAustralia bt Sydney '95, by 23sec.