Sailing: Brilliant Britons put fleet to flight

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The Independent Online
A BRILLIANT double first for Barlo Plastics gave Britain's Chernikeeff team the overall lead after the opening pair of races in the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup here yesterday. The might of the pre-start favourites, the trio of boats representing Europe was, for the moment at least, eclipsed.

The defending champions from the United States looked out of sorts, and the breezier conditions in the afternoon upset the rhythm of both the Dutch, who looked likely leaders earlier in the day, and Italy, who were very disappointed to be seventh overnight.

The partnership of skipper Adrian Stead and helmsman Tim Powell came up trumps on Barlo Plastics when, in the first race, they dug themselves out from seventh early in the first race of the day, a zig-zag of upwind and downwind legs in the central Solent. The 12 to 14-knot westerly breeze was shifting in direction and on the third upwind leg they caught the phase and shot to the front. In the second "we had the best start of the fleet and, where the others were buried by the bigger boats, we had a clear lane," Powell said.

Another double act, Chris Law and Graham Bailey on the 40ft Nautica Arbitrator of team captain, Stephen Bailey, recovered from being beaten into fourth place by the Commonwealth's Jonty Sherwill and Ben Vines on Turbo UK to take an impressive first in the second race of the day.

That also made up for disappointment on Britain's 50ft Venture 99, second after a thrilling start by Lawrie Smith in the first race, eighth in the second after taking a penalty turn, a precautionary measure in case they had fouled the German yacht Rubin.

n The French team, which withdrew on Tuesday after a handicap rating dispute over their big boat, Krazy K-Yote 2, was allowed to field their two smaller boats, a sporting gesture which could interfere with others in serious contention.

Results, Digest, page 29