Edwards revels in 'amazing' outing

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Despite completing only one race, the Olympic gold medallist Jonathan Edwards was elated yester-day after he joined an all-woman crew to contest the VW King of Cowes series.

"I have only ever had one day on Datchet Water before this," the former triple-jumper said, "but sailing today with an all-woman crew was what made it. It was a load of fun, really amazing. What I want to do now is go out with the Russian team in the Volvo Ocean Race boat."

That invitation comes from one of yesterday's crew, Liz Rushall, who works for St Petersburg's Team Russia, who are due to start the round the world challenge from Alicante in October but whose training base is alongside Britain's 2012 Olympic sailing venue in Weymouth and Portland.

Rushall and Sarah Marriott had been called in by skipper Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, but they suffered gear damage which led to a broken boom and elimination after only one race.

Boisterous conditions in the Solent were enough to keep the more skittish Extreme 40 catamarans ashore, but the Laser SB3s ventured out to decide who would be champion of champions from 29 of the class winners in last year's Skandia Cowes Week.

The popular 20-foot three- or four-man dinghy proved a handful in a series of three races started in sight of Queen Victoria's Isle of Wight retreat, Osborne House, as the wind strengthened from 18 knots to over 25. The winner, who picked up the keys to a Volkswagen Touareg, was Giles Peckham, who qualified by winning the Daring class last year. Mark Greenaway was second and Graham Bailey third.

Other casualties included the disabled sailor Alisdair Barter, who had to be picked up and taken ashore, and Ian Southworth, better known for his J24 exploits, who was dismasted.

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