Draper and Newman feeling the pressure

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The Independent Online

There were changes on the leaderboard in the 470 dinghy class as racing resumed here yesterday in the Chernikeeff Olympic trials. Now sharing the lead in the men's division, though a countback would give them the outright lead, are Nick Rogers and Jo Glanfield.

They won both races to put the pressure on Chris Draper and Dan Newman, while a sixth and a seventh were enough to push Bethan Raggatt and Sarah Webb to the top of the women's division. Both groups race as one fleet, which explains why Raggatt's apparently unspectacular results could have such a major effect, pushing Helena Lucas and Sue Parkin into second place and the previous leaders, Severine Rees-Jones and Inga Leask, down to third.

Also faltering under the grey skies and in a breeze confounding the forecast by softening from 15 to 10 knots, was the windsurfer Nick Dempsey. He notched his first defeat in six outings, Dominic Tidey taking pole and Adrian Jones pushing Dempsey down to third. But he still leads with five races to complete the series.

Stretching their lead to six points at the top of the high performance 49er fleet were Ian Barker and Simon Hiscocks. Behind them, Paul Brotherton and Mo Gray, have a three-point cushion over the Budgen Brothers, Ian and Andy, with Tim Robinson and Zeb Elliott one more point behind.

Back on the course in the bay were the Tornado catamarans where Hugh Styles and Adam May, with a first and a third, consolidated their lead. They are now six points clear of Rob Wilson and Will Howden and heading smoothly for Sydney with five races to go.

"It's onwards and upwards from here," said Styles afterwards. "We stamped our authority in the first race and, though we didn't get a good start in the second, we caught up and finished third. We had a job to do when we got here and we are doing it."

Still 625 miles south of the Equator, Ellen MacArthur, on her delivery run back with her new Open 60 "Kingfisher", has had a slow week.

MacArthur is now coping not with ferocious winds and waves but stifling heat and little more than an occasional light breeze. She is expected to cross the Equator in the next week and then wants to call into France on her way to the start of the Singlehanded Transatlantic Race from Plymouth on 4 June.

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