Sailing: Britain indulge in a catalogue of errors: Mandrake extends Italy's lead over Australia's Ragamuffin in the 50-footer class as home prospects show no sign of buoyancy

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN almost need a referee to step in and save them from further punishment after another failure in the third inshore race of the Admiral's Cup here yesterday.

While Giorgio Carriero's 50-footer Mandrake for Italy, John Calvert- Jones's 45-footer Great News II for Australia and Willi Illbruck's 40- footer Pinta for Germany were winning their owners their weight in the sponsor's bubbly for winning their divisions, the hung-over home team were more in need of Alka-Seltzer.

Mandrake clocked up a second consecutive win and afterwards the skipper, Francesco de Angelis, said: 'We were able to establish a lead as Peter Gilmour in Australia's Ragamuffin had to fight back from being fourth at the first turning mark.'

Italy stretched their lead over Australia to three and a half points, and Germany consolidated their third place. Unfortunately, Britain did the same in seventh place out of eight, with each boat coming next to last in its class.

The crew of Indulgence were in the wars again with Jerry Richards still affected by a ricked back, Kelvin Rawlings carrying a stiff knee and the helmsman, Chris Law, cutting himself on a boom.

The bowman, Timmy Haines, became entangled in the guy rope when hoisting a spinnaker at the start of the fifth running leg, found himself suspended 30 feet above the water at the end of the pole, and was dragged into the water as the pole dropped and the boat rolled. As he was being pulled in, the end of the pole went through the foot of the spinnaker and shredded it. While it was being recovered it was dropped in the water and acted very effectively as a brake.

The crewman, John Newnham, said: 'We are probably not sailing to our full potential.' Nor were his team colleagues. Glyn Charles, on the one- tonner, GBE International, went steadily backwards and finished sixth.

And Stuart Childerley, in the two- tonner, Provezza Source, went from challenging Italy's Larouge for second place to second last and then last as he and tactician Chris Dickson misread some of the shifts in wind direction. But he did manage to pip France's Corum Rubis by one second on the finish line.

Australia's Great News II led from start to finish, as she had in the first inshore race. With one second and a third-place finish, she is leading her class by a comfortable margin.

Despite the stiff, 20-knot south- westerly, there were all types of boat at the top of the table once handicaps for their size were applied. All the ingredients were there for great racing: top boats and crews, a good wind, bright sunshine, a colourful spectacle . . . Only those who dictate the continuation of an old-fashioned form of yacht racing could turn that into a stodge, but they did.

At 28 miles the race is too long and the legs, at three miles, are as well. Having required the fleet to traipse half-way to Brighton to find an area of water suitably free of traffic, the marks have to be laid in shallower, and therefore choppier, water.

With the whole of Bracklesham Bay to choose from, the Royal Ocean Racing Club even had to broadcast to the competitors that there was a navigational hazard. They had placed the bottom turning buoy among some lobster pots, whose retrieval lines were just waiting to snag around an unfortunate rudder.

Within the Solent and what is proving to be a boisterous Cowes Week, Gregory Peck's Camp Freddie revelled in the fast conditions and added the Bathsheba Trophy to the Sir Walter Preston Challenge Cup he had won the day before.

A crewman on Galicia '93 Pescanova, Spain's Whitbread 60 entry in the Round the World Yacht Race which starts next month, was in hospital near Salisbury last night as surgeons tried to save a hand severed during speed trials in the Solent.

ADMIRAL'S CUP (Cowes) Champagne Mumm Trophy Race: 50ft class: 1 Mandrake (It); 2 Ragamuffin (Aus); 3 Container (Ger); 4 Jameson III (Irl); 5 Promotion VII (Neth); 6 Corum Saphir (Fr); 7 Indulgence (GB); 8 Champosa (Japan).

Two-tonners: 1 Great News II (Aus); 2 Larouge (It); 3 Swing (Japan); 4 Rubin XII (Ger); 5 Jameson II (Irl); 6 Provezza Source (GB); 7 Corum Rubis (Fr).

One-tonners: 1 Pinta (Ger); 2 Nippon (Japan); 3 Brava Q8 (It); 4 Corum Diamant (Fr); 5 Ninja (Aus); 6 GBE International (GB); 7 Ace (Neth).

Overall team standings after four races: 1 Italy 169.88pts; 2 Australia 166.25; 3 Germany 150.50; 4 Japan 133; 5 France 123; 6 Ireland 122; 7 Great Britain 107; 8 Netherlands 65.50.