Sailing: Americans dismasted but retain control: Stuart Alexander, in the Solent, sees the flying pigs brought down to earth

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THE flying pig came down to earth with a bump in the Solent yesterday, David Clarke's Mumm 36, Pigs in Space, being dismasted in the fifth race of the Commodores' Cup when leading his class.

His American White team, one of two sent over by the United States, still managed to retain the overall lead by 20 points, and Clarke expects to have his boat, which has dominated the other seven Mumms in the regatta so far, back in take-off trim for the short off-shore race which begins at lunchtime today.

Out in front again was Don Smith's Tripp 50, Falcon, chased increasingly forlornly by the America Red team's Numbers, both steered by the Olympic silver medallists, Peter Holmberg on Falcon and John Kolius on Numbers.

It was the first time that any appreciable breeze had kicked in for the nine three- boat teams, building from about eight to 10 knots at the beginning to nearer 20 at the end of the 24.6 miles and providing near-perfect conditions.

After a pair of postponements, because the wind was unsettled, and a general recall, as too many surged over the line in the third attempt at a start, they were set a busy, 15-leg course that criss-crossed the Solent between Cowes, Ryde and, on the mainland, Lee-on-Solent.

It caught one or two people out, the German yacht Antibody missing a mark, and two others, England's The Wall and the Netherlands' Kateie, making the same mistake and having to go back.

The Netherlands were helped by Roy Heiner guiding the old and generously handicapped S'Energy to its second class win, but Antibody's gaffe cost the German Red team their second place overall, and the England team are struggling some of the time and are next to last.

Argentina also shot themselves in the foot when their yacht Califa hooked up the finish-line buoy. Eventually the race committee decided they had exonerated themselves but Argentina slipped a place overall behind the Netherlands and their scalp is now within the grasp of an eager Jersey team.

The first International Yacht Racing Union World Sailing Championship, to be held between Olympics, begins in La Rochelle, France, today with 1,600 competitors from 80 countries.

ROLEX COMMODORES CUP (Cowes): Yachting Trophy (Race 5, Class 1: 1 D. Smith (Falcon, US White); 2 J Risley (Numbers, US Red); 3 A Tonconogy (Fuga, Arg). Class 2: 1 L Dewulf (S'Energy, Neth); 2 H Jahn (Flash Gordon, US White); 3 J Scheumann (Aerosail Astro, Ger Green). Class 3: 1 T Dodson (Thomas I Punkt, Ger Green); 2 A Griese (Aerosail 3, Ger Red); 3 J Webley (Ferocious, Jersey). Overall: 1 USA, White 35pts; 2 Germany, Green, 56.75; 3 Germany Red, 58.24; 4 USA, Red, 63.75; 5 Netherlands, 79.75; 6 Argentina 81.25; 7 Jersey 88.5; 8 England 97.5; 9 Wales 114.5.

(Photograph omitted)