Nutter docked vital points

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The Independent Online
England's chances of joining Scotland in an attack on the leaders, France, on the last leg of the Round Britain Challenge faded yesterday after a statement by the England II skipper, Craig Nutter, resulted in a five- point penalty.

Nutter won the second leg of the race from Galway to Oban but was the subject of a protested by Scotland's Jon Fitzgerald for not sailing the proper course. This was initially dismissed, but continuing criticism by Nutter's rivals led him to submit a report.

The race jury said Nutter's infringement had been unintentional, praised him for his sportsmanship, but then penalised him 50 per cent of his place points.

That put England third, 9.5 points behind France as they start the final leg to Cowes today and left the way open for Scotland, only 3.25 points behind, to attack the French.

Mike Lennon successfully defended his national title at the MDL Melges 24 Championships in Brixham. A disqualification from the fourth of the 12 races because of a protest from his team-mate David Bedford cost John Merricks, Olympic 470 silver medalist last month, the crown by just 1.25 points. Third was Ian Pinnell.