Sailing: Britain salvage pride

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The Independent Online
ONE of the worst collisions in the history of the Admiral's Cup could not prevent Italy from hanging on to a slender lead over Australia after yesterday's round of races.

On a day when the fleet was further hit by damage to masts, a little British pride was salvaged, though the home team remains firmly in second-to-last place. The programme called for two short races yesterday and they proved to be the most sparkling so far as a 17 to 20-knot westerly provided excellent racing conditions.

It was the younger British element who were showing their more experienced masters the way as Stuart Childerley in Provezza Source and Glyn Charles in GBE International won the first of their races in the two and one ton classes respectively.

But there was disaster as the fleet approached the upwind mark for the second time. Graham Walker's 50- footer, Indulgence, was tracking into the buoy fourth in class as Francesco de Angelis brought Italy's Mandrake, runaway winner of the previous two inshore races, on the opposite tack.

Indulgence had the right of way on starboard tack with Bouwe Bekking just astern in the Dutch 50-footer, Pro-Motion VII. De Angelis dipped down to go round the stern of Indulgence but then smashed his 11-ton yacht at 7.5 knots into the hull of Pro- Motion amidships, taking a chunk out of Pro-Motion below the waterline and knocking her own bow back four feet. Neither boat is likely to be able to make the Fastnet Race, Pro- Motion scuttling into Chichester, Mandrake hauled out at Cowes. The two remaining Italians, Lorenzo Bortolotti in Larouge and Paul Cayard in Brava Q8 keep Italy strong.

While a better British performance did not lift them in the table, the defending champions, France, were falling apart, slipping below the two-boat team of Ireland to sixth overall, until Ireland's 50-footer was penalised for a foul on Japan's Champosa and the placings reverted. Their 50-foot Corum crowned a bad day by parking on the upwind mark.

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