Loftus beats brisk winds to win cup

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The Independent Online

While Richard Loftus was winning one of Cowes Week's top trophies, the New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup, and beating into second place last year's winner Peter Ogden, the man who was that club's downfall in 1983 was beaming ashore.

Alan Bond is back and plans to sail on board the yacht which broke the 132-year domination of the America's Cup. Australia II, with many of her winning crew, has been drawing admiring glances all week as she limbers up for the big event, the America's Cup Jubilee Regatta, which starts on 18 August. Yesterday she again beat Britain's 1986/87 representative, Crusader.

The jubilee includes, on 21 August, a re-enactment of the Round the Island Race in 1851 which gave birth to the Cup and Bond said he hoped to be on board Australia II, alongside skipper John Bertrand, for the 55-mile trip.

No, he would not be handling either the sails or the winches which control them. But he hoped to be given a turn on the helm at some stage.

What was expected to be a quieter day after a rash of sinkings and dismastings, turned out to be much brisker than forecast with the north-west wind gusting up to 25 knots. Once again, spinnakers were the order of the starting day, the fleets being sent east away from the Royal Yacht Squadron line on the flooding tide. Once again there were some heavy crashes and bangs.

Loftus, who was joined on his Swan 65 ketch Desperado by Johnny Caulcutt, made the most of a 27-mile course that took the fleet first towards Portsmouth and then back into the western Solent for a triangle. The finish was back under spinnaker in front of the crowds on the Green.

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