Establishmentunder attack

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The Independent Online
Sailing

STUART ALEXANDER

Sir Peter Johnson, a leading member of the Royal Yacht Squadron, yesterday accused the Royal Ocean Racing Club of "breathtaking complacency" in the way it is handling preparations for offshore racing in 1997.

He contends that the RORC took action even before the 1995 Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup was over to announce the continuation of a format (a three-boat team, two categories of which are expensive and have a low level of support) that saw entries reduced to eight countries and Britain finishing last.

Another area of concern is the relationship between the RORC and the Offshore Racing Council, which is supposed to administer big-boat offshore events worldwide. Its former chairman, John Bourke, swapped jobs with the commodore of the RORC, John Dare, and Sir Peter feels the RORC is under "real pressure" to follow the ORC line.

"The system the RORC used in 1995 didn't work and it's madness to do the same in 1997," Sir Peter said. "It is not too late to change the format. The young talent that made Britain top nation at the recent World Youth Championships is being betrayed by these people," he said.

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