Good conditions help Britain Red take the lead in Commodores' Cup

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The Independent Online

A strong performance by Britain Red, one of four teams carrying the union flag, took them into the lead of the Rolex Commodores' Cup as the Solent provided a second day of top quality racing conditions yesterday. The others at the top - the defending trios playing as France Blue and Ireland Green - form a top three which are creating a first division of their own.

Behind them are twelve more three-boat teams, three more each from Britain and France, three from the Netherlands, a second from Ireland and one each from Spain and Hong Kong. A first and a second for John Shepherd's Fair Dos, with Britain's Olympic manager Stephen Park calling the shots, in the big boat class helped oust France Blue, whose Gery Trentesaux in Lady Courrier had himself scored two wins on the opening day but yesterday had to be content with a fifth and a first.

A pair of seconds from the very consistent Peter Rutter in Quokka plus a sixth and a second by Jerry Otter in Erivale completed a solid team performance. In Cagliari, southern Sardinia, Peter de Ridder's Mean Machine continued to set the pace as the TP52s rattled off the first three races of their third grand prix in sparkling 10 to 16-knot winds and bright sunshine.

De Ridder led from start to finish in the first race, slipped to fourth in the second and then came storming back for a second win in the third after briefly being headed by the Russian team, Rusal, which has bought USA 17, the boat built for Larry Ellison and his skipper Russell Coutts but sidelined after just one regatta in Marseille. The only other winner was Terry Hutchinson, whose Quantum still seems to prefer a fresher breeze.