Sailing: All change for Admiral's

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Changes to Britain's Admiral's Cup preparation are in full flow just two months before the three-boat team takes on some formidable opposition from New Zealand, America, Italy, Germany and Scandinavia.

The appointment of Chris Law as principal helmsman on Graham Walker's Corum Indulgence is strengthened by bringing in three top sailors from the Corum team, probably including Luc Gelluseau.

The boat, which has been shipped back from the United States, is to have the slightly oversize keel reshaped and further changes may be made to improve its handicap rating even if this were to take it outside the rules for the Corel 45 class in which it normally sails.

The 40-footer Easy Oars continues to make solid progress and further optimisation is part of owner Tony Buckingham's plan to counter the threat of the all-conquering Italian 40-footer, Pasquale Landolfi's Brava.

The only hiccups at the moment are within the Mumm 36 campaign, where Tim Barrett's Bradamante was shipped in error to Italy and both masts were damaged. But Brada- mante, with Olympic silver medallists John Merricks and Ian Walker calling the shots, had to be in Italy by next week anyway for the Mumm 36 World Championship at Punta Ala.

They have a new mast, are also doing some work on their keel, and are anxious to bring some momentum back to a campaign which had an encouraging start in Key West and Miami.

What is causing them problems is the lack of offshore racing practice so far achieved and some doubts over funding. There was an earlier agreement over support for the Mumm 36, but not all of that is in place and without it the boat would have to stop racing between the world championship and the Admiral's Cup.

More confident in that area is the Royal Yachting Association, whose bid for lottery funding via the Sports Council should be ratified on 6 June. The RYA hopes to get up to pounds 3m a year for the next three years.

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