Sailing: Walker urges Britain to raise their game

More pressure, more risks to be taken, and more at stake, the second round-robin of the Louis Vuitton Cup makes its delayed start tomorrow with the British team in good heart, the two leading teams almost oozing self-confidence, and two of the three American teams regrouping.

The Prada team have worked 24 hours a day for five days to improve a sequence of three wins from seven outings, while the Swedish team had been able to make a decision to make a change and sail its new boat, but cannot announce a decision about who will sail it. Each team play the paranoia game, tries to mislead their opponents, and refuses to disclose to the public what all their opponents know about their activities.

GBR Challenge's general manager, David Barnes, described the alterations to their yacht before the second round of the Louis Vuitton Cup this week as "small, but adding up to a significant improvement". The British camp have been playing down their changes and their skipper, Ian Walker, talks of "weighing up risks against potential benefits". Barnes says openly they have been trying to learn as much as possible from the way their opponents do things and they, as well as others, have had people working round the clock. Even so, they have had only two days to test the effect of those changes, though changes there have to be.

"If we don't improve, we're not going to win," said Walker, who said he was not surprised at the pecking order that had emerged from round-robin one and expected to see a similar situation at the end of round-robin two.

The Italian winners of the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2000, Prada, have put a whole restyled bow section on to their silver and red Luna Rossa, the sort of knuckle shape developed for Team New Zealand's Black Magic, who beat them 5-0 in the last America's Cup showdown, and have borrowed some of the mast technology from the same boat to improve the area of the headsails.

One of their biggest rivals for the sole right to challenge his old team, Russell Coutts, had already made a similar development. Of the nine challengers going into a round which sees that number cut to eight and one team going home, the skipper of Switzerland's Alinghi is staying cool about the performance of his yacht.

Coutts has made one or two long-planned changes to SUI 64, which the team will continue to use, and would be glad to have Murray Jones back from injury.

In most trouble are the French who, immediately after losing their eighth race out of eight, called in every member of the team, plus wives, girlfriends and children, to say that this was a time to rally round, to support each other, keep heads up and know that they could still win races. Since then they have played with a winged rudder before abandoning the move because there was too little time to test it.

In any case, they have the makings of a fast boat already if they can just find a way to sail smarter tactics and as a team, rather then 16 individuals. They could still upset some who have been lulled into thinking they are easy prey.

In the relegation zone with them, Mascalzone Latino have made a few changes, most notably to move the optimum performance of their single yacht up to medium-strength breezes and they kick off the new round of racing today by completing their outstanding first-round fixture against Prada. Any upset there and the princes from Milan will be sent into a tailspin by the rascals of Naples.

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
Jennifer Lawrence at the Vanity Fair Academy Awards party in February 2014
people12 undisclosed female victims are seeking $100m in damages
Arts and Entertainment
Adam Levine plays a butcher who obsessively stalks a woman in Maroon 5's 'Animals' music video
music'Animals' video 'promotes sexual violence against women'
News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
voicesI like surprises - that's why I'm bringing them back to politics, writes Nigel Farage
News
Bear and hare woodland scene from John Lewis Christmas advert
newsRetailer breaks with tradition, selling real festive fir trees online for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Anthony Horowitz will write the next 007 novel
booksAnthony Horowitz to write new instalment in spy series for 2015
News
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
people
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

Sport
Kicking on: Nathaniel Clyne is relishing the challenge of the Premier League after moving from Crystal Palace
footballSurprises include a first ever call-up for one Southampton star
Voices
4 May 2013: The sun rises over Tower Bridge in London. Temperatures across the UK could be higher than several European holiday destinations by Monday, including parts of Italy and France (Andy Hepburn/PA)
voices
News
The moon observed in visible light, topography and the GRAIL gravity gradients
science

...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought

News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Digital Fundraising Analyst/Web Analyst - West Sussex - Permanent - £30k DOE

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Application Support Engineer – 6 month FTC – West Sussex - £26k-£28k pro rata

£26000 - £28000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: English Teacher required for ...

Head of IT Change – West Sussex – Up to £60k DOE – Permanent

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?