OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Sailing: Childerley on a different tack

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TACTICAL decisions to strike out on your own are always fraught with risk and Stuart Childerley took one he may regret for some time in the fifth race of the singlehanded Finn class yesterday.

He had been sixth at the end of the first beat, went past Arif Gurdenli, of Turkey, and up to fifth on the first reach, and then squeezed inside Hank Lammens, of Canada, to turn into the second beat in fourth place.

Then, while those ahead of him went steadily right and, more importantly, those behind him who he needed to beat, also went right, Childerley tacked and went left.

At the end of that leg he was ninth and instead of looking back he was looking forward at the sterns of Xavier Rohart, of France, and Brian Ledbetter of America. Not a happy outcome.

By the end he had slipped further back to 12th and must count himself lucky to have stayed fifth overall. But the gap between himself and the leaders has widened. That tack may have cost him a medal.

But then it was not a happy day all round. The cause was a 'politician's wind': hot and sticky, blowing this way and that, full of holes and always fading away when you needed it most. The Tornado catamaran race was abandoned as the time limit ran out.

On a lottery of a Soling course Lawrie Smith, despite being 14th yesterday, holds on to fourth overall. His room for manoeuvre is now more limited as the positions of the three ahead of him - Kevin Mahaney, of America, Jesper Bank, of Denmark, and Jochen Schumann, of Germany - are more secure.

David Howlett and Phil Lawrence were 20th in the Star and from being third overall after three races are now ninth after five. Bet on no one else but Mark Reynolds, of America, for the gold.

Adrian Stead and Peter Allam were also 20th in their not-so-Flying Dutchman and have never been in the hunt. That race is between Paul Foerster, of America, Luis Doreste, of Spain, and the defending gold medallist Jorgen Bojsen-Moeller.

Meanwhile the 470 sailors were glad to be taking a day off ashore.