Sailing: British team sustain lead over Europe

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The Independent Online
NOT CONTENT with continuing to lead the Admiral's Cup and having more than half the points in the bag, the Chernikeeff British team was yesterday trying to inflict more damage on its nearest rivals while the defending Americans were organising major surgery after self-inflicted injury.

Chris Law wanted to protest against the Europe team's rival Sydney 40 Merit Cup for baulking the British team's Nautica at the finish of the race and pipping him by a couple of seconds. But the jury refused his request on procedural grounds, so Europe stays in second place, six points behind Britain.

So Nautica then helped the Australians make the German 40 MK Cafe pay for upsetting them. This time things went their way, the Germans were disqualified, adding 27.5 points to their score, pushing them down to fifth overall, and that promoted the Netherlands to third, 16 points behind Britain, and the United States to fourth equal with Germany.

Still walking tall in the marina as the crews took a sunny lay day to sort out minor problems were Adrian Stead and Tim Powell, the dynamic duo who, with former Olympian Stuart Childerley, have kept the Mumm 36 and the home team at the top of the heap.

They had had an indifferent start to the 225-miler which took the fleet down to Portland Bill, back up to Nab Tower and then down to Poole and back. But the experience of a couple of weeks ago, when the crew took the Commonwealth team 50-footer Chernikeeff on the Morgan Cup race in the same waters off Dorset, plus a clever piece of work beating through Sandown Bay, put them in the lead. "We set the spinnaker in 15 to 18 knots at Poole, we had a three-boat length lead over Mauro Pelaschier in Moby Lines, grabbed a can of Red Bull and the lads set to work," said Stead. "Once again it was a fantastic team effort."

There was an element of deja vu for Kenny Read, skipper of the US big boat Idler, when they hit a rock doing nearly eight knots when beating west past St Catherine's Point on the Isle of Wight. Four years ago the 40-footer he was on hit the rocks off the Lizard. On Saturday they managed to damage the keel, break interior frames, move the engine box and see Read flying through the top of the wheel as his tactician, Jim Brady, threaded his way through the spokes at the bottom.

"We tried to move England, which was pretty stupid," said Read before going Hamble on the mainland, where the boat was being repaired in time to be relaunched at midnight last night. The crew rejoins it there this morning and will sail direct to the race course.

CHAMPAGNE MUMM ADMIRAL'S CUP (Cowes) Team placings (after five races): 1 Britain (Boat, skipper and race finish: Venture 99, L Smith, 2, 8, 7, 2, 10; Nautica Arbitrator, G Bailey, 4, 1, 2, 3, 7.5; Barlo Plastics, T Powell, 1, 1, 5, 4, 2.5) 60pts total; 2 Europe (Brava Q8, F Favini, 4, 1, 1, 5, 5; Merit Cup, V Vascotto, 6, 2, 8, 1, 5; Moby Lines, E Chieffi, 5, 10, 6, 2, 5) 66; 3 Netherlands (Innovision, R Heiner, 1, 2, 4, 3, 17.5; Trust Computer, J Visser, 1, 10, 7, 4, 2.5; Mean Machine, B Bekking, 3, 3, 3, 5, 10) 76; 4= United States (Idler, K Read, 6, 1, 2, 6, 15; Blue Yankee Pride, S Benjamin, 8, 5, 3.5, 6, 15; Ciao Baby, C Larson, 2, 5, 1, 1, 15) 91.5; 4= Germany (Rubin XV, H O Schumann, 7, 5, 8, 1, 7.5; MK Cafe, K Jablonski, 5, 4, 1, 2, 27.5; Jeantex, T Gale 4, 2, 4, 7, 7.5) 92.5; 6 Italy (Breeze 3, T Chieffi, 3, 4, 6, 4, 12.5; Breeze 2, P Cian, 7, 7, 3.5, 5, 12.5; Breeze 1, L Santella 6, 7, 2, 3, 12.5) 96; 7 Australia (Quest, I Walker, 5, 6, 5, 7, 2.5; Sledgehammer, R Perrett, 2, 3, 5, 9, 10; Atara, N Drennan, 8, 4, 8, 6, 17.5) 98; 8 Commonwealth (Chernikeef, J Brinkers, 8, 7, 3, 8, 20; Turbo UK, J Sherwill, 3, 6, 6, 7, 17.5; Alice, S Henning, 7, 6, 7, 9, 22.5) 137; 9 France (Krazy K-Yote 2, B Pace, did not compete; Blan, B Moureau, 9, 8, 9, 8, 20; Bloo, M Noel, 9, 8, 9, 8, 20) 173.

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