Sailing: Americans put home failings in perspective: US fleet shows the value of superior planning and investment in retaining Commodore's Cup

THE United States swept home yachting aside yesterday as they comfortably defended the Commodores' Cup here. England finished seventh out of the nine teams, beaten by sixth-placed Jersey but ahead of the tail-enders Wales.

America had two teams and it was their White trio of Don Smith's 50-footer, Falcon, Helmut Jahn's Farr 39, Flash Gordon, and David Clarke's Mumm 36, Pigs in Space, who led from the beginning to the end of the testing seven-race series.

The Americans' 31-point margin over second-placed Germany Green, was enough to have allowed them all to stay moored in Cowes for the final 16-mile procession around the eastern Solent yesterday and still have won by one point. The other German team, Red, and US Red tied for third place.

Nevertheless, the United States had two firsts and a second on the last day to further underline their superior preparation and investment in what was supposed to be a second-tier sailing event.

While disputes continue over the complicated and costly new International Measurement System of handicapping the yachts, there is no argument that home yacht racing at this level is sadly lacking in structure.

The top individual yacht of the 27 was a member of Germany Green, Thomas Friese's Mumm 36, Thomas I Punkt, though the American Pigs in Space would have won if she had not been dismasted in Race 5.

ROLEX COMMODORES' CUP (Solent) Race 7: Class 1: 1 D Smith (Falcon) US White; 2 J Risley (Numbers) US Red; 3 A Tonconogy (Fugs) Arg. Class 2: 1 B Wiersma (S'Energy) Neth; 2 H Jahn (Flash Gordon) US White; 3 J Scheumann (Aerosail Astro) Ger Green. Class 3: 1 D Clarke (Pigs in Space) US White; 2 A Griese (Aerosail) Ger Green; 3 T Dodson (Thomas I Punkt) Ger Red. Final Overall: 1 US White 55pts; 2 Ger Green 86; 3= Ger Red and US Red 99.75; 5 Netherlands 112; 6 Jersey 125.125; 7 England 135; 8 Argentina 139.75; 9 Wales 183.5.