Broken mast ruins Roaring Meg's day

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The Independent Online

The top-scoring boat Roaring Meg was toppled yesterday when the mast came crashing down - broken both above and below deck - soon after the start of the offshore race in the Rolex Commodores' Cup.

The top-scoring boat Roaring Meg was toppled yesterday when the mast came crashing down - broken both above and below deck - soon after the start of the offshore race in the Rolex Commodores' Cup.

Tim Dixon and Jon Manley's new 35-footer, designed by Jason Kerr and representing Europe, had notched-up three firsts and a second in the opening inshore races. But this is the second time in the yacht's short life that she has been dismastered. First was on the way back from Cork Week and this time she was just off The Needles.

Also in the wars was the Farr 40, Warlord, sailing for the leading Commonwealth team, but going firmly aground for a few minutes at the entrance to Thorness Bay.

The rest of the 21 yachts were sent on courses varying from 139 to 155 miles and are due to finish this morning. By then they will have worked their way backwards and forwards across Poole Bay half a dozen times. With double points on offer, it means that this race counts as much as all the four before it, which scored half a point per place. So there was some eagerness to push to the front as they set off in bright sunshine, flat water, and a steadily strengthening south-westerly sea breeze.

Early to show was England Red, entered by Stuart Greenfield and David Murrin. But, as they continued to work the island shore, three of their rivals, Tony de Mulder, in Victric 5, Kevin Sproul, in McWolf, and Rennie Miller, in Dignity, peeled away to Beaulieu and the mainland shore. It was the smart move.

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