Sailing: Attempt on island landmark scuppered by fickle wind: Dolphin crew make encouraging progress

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THE CREW of the Dolphin and Youth Project, who will compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race in September, narrowly failed in their second attempt on the record for rounding the Isle of Wight yesterday.

In the first attempt, they missed by minutes. Yesterday, with Matt Humphries as skipper, crew members with disability blended smoothly with colleagues from the Youth Challenge. They were ahead of schedule as they passed the southernmost St Catherine's Point but the wind died on them at Bembridge on the eastern end of the island and they ground to a halt. It can only be a matter of time before the conditions conspire to success, but an even more pressing need is for up to pounds 750,000 in sponsorship to pay for the 32,000-mile campaign.

Time may also run out for them if Intrum Justitia, the all-European yacht skippered by Sweden's Roger Nilson, makes a similar attempt after being launched in Southampton today. Meanwhile, Dennis Conner's entry, Winston, is close to completion in Venice. Brad Butterworth, the co-skipper, has the builder of Steinlager, Tim Gurr, and one of the senior shore team ministering to Stars & Stripes, Mick Harvey, overseeing the building of the Bruce Farr-designed boat.

Lean and mean describes a yacht that has nearly half the space below decks shut off, will require the crew to crawl around on their hands and knees, has the navigator shut away in a vertical sarcophagus and has such flat, low decks open to the waves that Butterworth warns 'anytime a wave comes over, you're going to cop it'.

Three miles away, the Italian yacht, Brooksfield, has a new stern, and a new keel to replace the one that nearly dropped off and relaunches next week. New Zealand's Chris Dickson, who is competing for Japan, is still to make a choice between two boats, one by Farr, the other by John Swarbrick.

An all-women crew from the United States has bought the first of two yachts built for New Zealand's Yamaha syndicate.