Nesbit's winning trip

Falmouth, in Cornwall, is a long way from Tarbert, Loch Fyne, but the trip up the Irish Sea was all made worthwhile for pub owner John Nesbit yesterday. His old half-tonner, the eponymous JHN, beat 217 others in the two fleets converging from Gourock on the Clyde and Bangor, Northern Ireland, for the start of the Rover Series, writes Stuart Alexander.

On both the overnight 80-mile courses the wind did few people any favours as it shifted and died, but Nesbit, with helmsman Jonathan Money, made the race his own for the second time in five years.

The Irish big boat class was a close-run affair, with Paul Thallon's Farr 40 Brava just nine minutes ahead on corrected time of Barney Isherwood's J120 Enjoy. He was less than three minutes in front of third-placed Roy Dickson in the Corby 40, Cracklin' Rosie.

The top class from Gourock was more strung out, Chris Bonar's Bateleur '93 winning with a half-hour margin over Alex Duffus, whose Mumm 30 Eclipse is making its first appearance. Duffus was more than 40 minutes ahead of Brian Buchanan's Hesperia V.

Ed Baird, the world No 1 match racer who coached New Zealand to victory in the America's Cup in San Diego last year, has joined PACT 2000 and will skipper the New York Yacht Club challenge being directed by John Marshall.

ROVER SERIES (Gourock to Tarbert): Class 0: 1 C Bonar (Bateleur '93); 2 A Duffus (Eclipse); 3 B Buchanan (Hesperia V). Class 1: 1 P Fairlie (Pinocchio VII); 2 J Anderson (Duckwall Pooley); 3 K Lawrence (Playback). Class 2: 1 B Groden/A Maclaughlin (Wencarla V); 2 J Corson (Salamander V); 3 S Moorhouse (Jumpin' Jack Flash). Class 3: 1 J Nisbet (JHN); 2 G Hughes (Wing and a Prayer); 3 D McLeman (Highwayman II). Class 4: 1 A Dunnet (Valhalla of Ashton); 2 P Kitchen (Quango); 3 A Thistlethwaite (Super Mouse). Class 5: 1 G Aikman (Scanne); 2 W Malone (Ailish II); 3 I Darby (Jus' Do It). Class 6: 1 M Maiden (Itch); 2 R Perry (Revolver); 3 C Porteous (Cynara). J35: 1 J Corson; 2 S Moorhouse; 3 S McDowell (Bengal Magic). Sigma 33: 1 D Wilson (Vendaval); 2 J Fraser (Razzmattazz); 3 P Aitken (Makin' Waves). Bangor to Tarbert: Class 0: 1 P Thallon (Brava); 2 B Isherwood (Enjoy); 3 R Dickson (Cracklin' Rose). Class 1: 1 M McMullan (Innovision III); 2 R Burrows (Prospector); 3 T O'Reilly (Braveheart). Class 2: 1 R Campbell/K Baird (Ninja); 2 P Beamish (Aztec); 3 H Kerr (Hocus Pocus). Class 3: 1 J Nixon (Ardnagee); 2 A Douglas (Forward); 3 D Lindsay (Juno).