Dalton ponders a change of craft

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The Independent Online

Has Grant Dalton changed the habits of a lifetime? There was every sign in Portsmouth yesterday that the round-the-world racer has plumped for a yacht designed by German Frers Jnr, who is also forging Sweden's America's Cup challenger, for the Volvo Ocean Race, which starts on 23 September.

Dalton had insisted that his two-boat Nautor Challenge syndicate also build a yacht from the design board of career-long collaborator, Bruce Farr, but that will now be raced by the all-woman crew, skippered by Lisa McDonald.

Dalton has been keeping his cards close to his chest, but he has swapped the two yachts' registered colour schemes. While the Farr boat is quicker in some conditions, the Frers boat has been showing better speed in those more prevalent for the nine legs of the 33,000-mile race.

In the Solent yesterday, high winds ensured only one of two scheduled races in the Farr 40 World Championship was staged, with the Swiss America's Cup challenger, Ernesto Bertarelli, taking the lead. The 1998 champion, Jim Richardson, moved to second overall.