Upstart Percy Sydney-bound

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Barring complete disaster, the 24-year-old Finn-sailing upstart Iain Percy is safely through the Chernikeeff Sailing Regatta Olympic Trials and, with two days to sail, can confidently look forward to being selected for the British Olympic sailing team bound for Sydney in September.

Percy has won all but one of his seven races in the Finn class and has overwhelmed the opposition that included Britain's 1996 representative, Richard Stenhouse, who is struggling in sixth. In the men's windsurfer class the young Nick Dempsey is having a similarly easy time, with only a single third place blemishing an otherwise perfect score with eight races sailed.

Although the Royal Yachting Association have reserved the right to extend the trials beyond this regatta if racing in any class appears inconclusive, if Percy and Dempsey win their events they are almost certain to progress. And if Andy Beadsworth continues his unbeaten run in the Soling match-racing class, he and his United Airlines Sailing Team crew, Richard Sydenham and Barry Parkin, will be sure to join them. Beadsworth won all 10 of his round-robin stage races and at the end of racing last night was 2-0 up in his semi-final contest against David Bedford. In the other semi-final, Ian Williams was 2-0 up against Andy Green.

Elsewhere there were three classes more delicately poised. In the Tornado class, Hugh Styles and Adam May are three points ahead of Rob Wilson and Will Howden, but both crews know they will go forward to a further trial due to the fact that their race boats are held up in a container from Sydney.

The real heat, therefore, is in the men's 470 and the 49er class, where no team have been able to dominate. Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield, the No 1 seeds, are tied with Chris Draper and Dan Newman in the men's 470, while in the 49er class, Ian Barker and Simon Hiscocks started strongly but a two-win charge by Paul Brotherton and Mo Gray yesterday brought the pair to within a point of the lead.

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