British Olympic hopefuls in strong form in Cadiz


British Olympic team members Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw were in strong form at the world windsurfer championships in Cadiz, Dempsey taking silver and Shaw finishing fourth as strong winds put paid to any more racing.

Dempsey won bronze in Athens as did Shaw in China and Dempsey was denied a final crack at gold when sharing the lead with France’s Julien Bontemps.

In the southern ocean, France’s Groupama still leads leg five of the Volvo round the world race with less than two days to run to Cape Horn. At the moment the only real race is between Franck Cammas’ 70-footer and the chasing American boat Puma, skippered by Kenny Read.

Third-placed Telefonica, the overall race leader, is headed for Ushuaia for repairs to the bow, fourth-placed Camper, crewed by Team New Zealand and skippered by Australia’s Chris Nicholson is on its way to Puerto Montt in Chile for repairs.

Sixth-laced Chinese entry Sanya is on a ship from New Zealand to Savannah for repairs and will also miss the whole of leg six from Brazil to Miami. Which leaves the intriguing prospect of fifth-placed Abu Dhabi, with Ian Walker at the helm, chasing a 1,300-mile deficit after turning back to Auckland for repairs. The target is to pass both Camper and Telefonica.

The upheaval within the America’s Cup organisation could at last celebrate some good news as San Francisco’s 11-strong Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favour of a go-ahead for the racing in the bay next September with challenger elimination trials starting in July.

This year’s programme of racing for the 45-foot version of the wing-sail catamarans will now include two regattas in San Francisco in August and October – a plan to go to New York in August was dropped – and there is a search on for a Middle East venue in the winter.

There also appears to be a switch of emphasis towards news coverage of the events, rather than the lavish full television coverage of the racing, as a new central communications team produces revised plans for new chief executive Stephan Barclay.

His appointment is expected to be temporary as the defender, Oracle, had always promised that the event organiser would be fully independent – although all of the financial costs eventually fall at the door of Oracle boss Larry Ellison – as Barclay is also chief operating officer of Oracle Racing.