Package deal for cup

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The Independent Online
A package deal to guarantee a competitive British team in the 1997 Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup is being put together by the long-time campaigner Graham Walker. He hopes to persuade the Royal Yachting Association, which is responsible for selecting the three boats, to give an early go-ahead in order to generate more sponsorship.

Walker's Indulgence, a Corel 45 designed by Bruce Farr, would be the big boat, with Tony Buckingham either chartering or buying an ILC 40. Tim Barrett's Bradamante would fill the Mumm 36 slot. A squad of sailors would be assembled rather than each yacht operate independently, although it is thought John Merricks and Ian Walker, the Olympic silver medallists, would move on to the Mumm 36.

The most likely target for a 40-footer would be the American David Clarke's Pigs In Space, although there are rumours Italy's Pasquale Landolfi is thinking of replacing his world ILC40 championship-dominating Brava.

The RYA, which has appointed Richard Matthews to oversee the make-up of a team, would also have to consider whether it could pre-select this group without trials.

Jim Clarke, the chairman of the San Francisco AmericaOne challenge for the America's Cup in New Zealand in 2000, has handed over control to Fritz Jewett, citing business commitments. Paul Cayard will remain as skipper.