Park breezes through qualifying

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The Independent Online

Two firsts, a second and a fourth made sure of a place in the semi-finals of the Hobie Cat 16 World Championships here for Scotland's Stephen Park and his Welsh crew, Ruth Verrier-Jones, in qualifying rounds which have weeded 240 down to 35.

But they could still only manage second overall as Brazil's Daan van der Klugt and Patricia Kirschner scored three firsts and a seventh. Also qualifying for the next three days to find the final 56 were Britain's Matthew Eeles, national champion in 1994, and crew Philip Hildyard.

David McLean's 48-foot Babbalaas, with Eddie Warden Owen at the helm, won the big boat class at the Southern Ocean Racing Conference regatta in Miami.

He was chased home by Graham Walker's new Indulgence after recovering from rig damage well enough to win the final race in blustery winds of up to 25 knots.

That breeze was enough to catch out the American Olympic silver medallist Jim Brady, knocking flat his Mumm 36 No Problem and allowing Italy's Tomasso Chieffi, partnered by Ed Baird, to score another win and go into the final race lying equal first.

There was no such knife-edge uncertainty about Jud Smith cleaning up in the Etchells 22, but the conditions will have to ease before the duel between Lawrie Smith and Glyn Charles in the race for the British Olympic place in the Star class can proceed. They were due to start the second half of their tussle yesterday as the Bacardi Cup kicked off its week- long series also in Miami, but winds above16 knots (the maximum for any result to count towards selection) thwarted them.