Sailing: Admiral's Cup team build solid platform

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The Independent Online
A first and a third for Graham Walker's Corel 45 Indulgence, steered by Luc Gelluseau, and a win for Tony Buckingham's 40-footer Easy Oars had the British Admiral's Cup team on a high at the end of the fourth day of Key West Regatta Week yesterday.

Walker is anxious to play down any success and emphasises putting into perspective any poor results. He is quick to remind people that a new team with old sails will need time to bed down in a boat he describes as "simple but difficult to sail".

Indulgence has the potential to rival its Corel 45 rivals, Walker says. He has been able to demonstrate in Key West that they can more than hold their own against the one-off designs of the same size which may be the chosen big boats of other Admiral's Cup teams.

Andy Beadsworth, helmsman of Easy Oars and now recovered from a stomach upset, said his first race of the day had gone well from the start. "We got a good start, went the right way and were holding, boat for boat, rivals that owe us time on handicap. I'm getting more used to sailing the boat. It's coming together."

In the second race they were shut out by the American yacht Flash Gordon, which is battling with Easy Oars for second place overall to Makoto Uematsu's Esmeralda, steered by Ken Read. The triple Olympic gold medallist, Jochen Schumann, was able to ease Gray Kiger's Fatal Attraction into contention for yesterday's final race showdown. Having been knocked out of the Olympic Soling class semi-final by Schumann in Savannah last July, Beadsworth was savouring the challenge.

Also facing a challenge is Ian Walker, the tactical half of the duo which won silver in Savannah, who puts his partner John Merricks on the helm of Britain's Mumm 36, Tim Barratt's Bradamante.

Walker said he would be having to buy the beers after a day on which some of his decisions backfired. "I'm just making too many mistakes," he said, "but the good thing is we are not making the same mistakes twice. There's a lot to learn, but we are learning."

One Briton sweeping all before him is the Cowes Etchells sailor Mike Law, who secured victory in the Mumm 30 class with a race to spare. With crew Ossie Stewart, Ian Tillett and the American Jud Smith (celebrating his 40th birthday), he has netted a seventh, two seconds and four firsts. Whatever his place in the 30-boat fleet yesterday, he could not be beaten. He was last seen assessing how big a piece of ice he should take with him to cool the beer.

More frowned upon would be ice with single malt Glenfiddich, the sponsors of the European assault on the Melges 24 class. Unfortunately their champion, the Italian Giorgio Zuccoli, has suffered with a disqualification and a premature start.

The final race will decide whether the sailmaker and the defending champion. Dave Ullman or the Star sailor and Den.nis Conner's America's Cup mainsheet trimmer. Vince Brun. will take the title.

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