Contenders tune up

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The great, the good, and the IMX 38s for their European Championship, gathered at the Berthon Source Regatta in Lymington yesterday, the principal focus being on some of next week's Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup contenders taking a last chance to tune up against their opponents and look them in the eye for any signs of vulnerability.

In near-perfect Western Solent conditions, the most impressive was the Italian mid-sized boat, Pasquale Landolfi's latest BravaQ8, which, on corrected time and in the hands of Francesco de Angelis, beat not only all the other 40s on show in the first race, but all the big boats and the trio of Mumm 36s as well.

She had a margin of over two minutes on David Clarke's US team boat, Pigs in Space, with Kenny Read on the helm, and there was a little cheer for the Irish as Gordon Maguire steered Jameson II to third place, comfortably ahead of the German 40 Anemos.

Also able to take heart was the crew of the renamed Group 4 Astro, chartered from Germany for the United Kingdom team. She was just 35 seconds behind her much newer sister, Anemos, Harry Cudmore and crew sailing their first race together. Just to keep everyone guessing, it was the Scandinavian big boat which set the pace for the 46s, her German counterpart, Pinta, second by only 13 seconds and South Africa's big boat, Sansui Challenger, a further 14 seconds astern.

They were followed by the American Blue Yankee, which won the second race, and the Italian Capricorno, while the first Mumm 36 in both races was the American Jim Brady in No Problem.

In the IMX 36 Europeans, Dutchmen Roy Heiner's S'Energy was locked in dispute when coming fourth in the first race of the day, won by Robbie Cameron-Davies's Xnantor but Heiner came back strongly in the second.