Sailing: Watching game pays for Sproul

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The Independent Online

Two of the Solent's more wily campaigners had big smiles on their faces yesterday at the end of the race for the second of Skandia Cowes Week's most coveted trophies, the New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup.

The pathfinder was Jo Richards, bronze medallist at the 1984 Olympics in the Flying Dutchman class, in Stephen Fein's 36-foot lake racing specialist Full Pelt. Watching his every move was Kevin Sproul, a former member of Britain's Olympic squad in the 470 class and long time tactician for Glynn Williams.

On a day when the headline-grabbing boats, especially the 13th-placed 55-footer Aera, were having a torrid time in the fickle winds of the eastern Solent, which meant that many classes did not race at all, the halfway leader was Ed Leask's Europrix 45. The boat was helmed by Team New Zealand's Cameron Appleton, with Mark Chisnell as navigator and two GBR Challenge members, Jonathan Taylor and - despite a broken thumb - Jim Turner.

Their excuse for seeing their lead evaporate was that they wanted to cover every move by Tony de Mulder's Victric and win their series for the week - both of which they did.

Richards had seen the opportunity to strike out for the mainland shore and sail all around the wind hole. Sproul took constant bearings, saw it was working and followed suit in another Europrix 45, Glynn Williams' Wolf. They won by 8min 7sec, a second triumph for Williams who won the same trophy in 1996.

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