Trouble came in threes for two of match racing's aspiring young yachtsmen yesterday in the Steinlager Cup. Britain's Andy Green lost all three of his remaining matches in the second qualifying round and with them the chance of making the semi-finals. Meanwhile another 26-year-old, Dean Barker, was whitewashed 3-0 by an even younger fellow member of Team New Zealand, the 22-year-old Cameron Appleton.
Just three weeks ago Barker had shared a heady moment of success in beating Italy's Prada 5-0 to retain the America's Cup after being given the helm of Black Magic by Russell Coutts for the final, clinching race. This time, however, he was on the receiving end of a drubbing.
Appleton, whose ambitions lie in the shape of the Volvo Ocean Race, said the win had been one of the highlights of his career. "We know exactly how Dean goes into pre-starts, so we figured out a good game plan and it worked," he explained.
Green's troubles were not over as he then had to face the old maestro, Chris Dickson, in a best-of-three to settle fifth and six places. Green took one race off him, but was outclassed in the other two. "This is the hardest field I've ever raced against," he said, "so top six out of 16 is an encouraging result for the first time we have had this crew together."