Sailing: Caution pays handsomely for Walker: Cayard leaves fleet trailing in his wake at La Rochelle

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The Independent Online
GRAHAM WALKER can look forward to the next 50-foot regatta at Cowes in mid-July with relish after finishing third overall at La Rochelle yesterday. Walker, who will also lead the British Admiral's Cup team at the end of July, had been cautious ahead of his first outing in the Farr-designed and re- named Indulgence which he bought from Michael Peacock.

'We are perhaps the weakest team here,' he said when calculating his chances against the likes of Paul Cayard, Marc Pajot, John Kolius and Peter Gilmour. They were well into sailing and sail development programmes, he was starting from scratch.

But a mixed team of former Indulgence and Juno stalwarts, with Eddie Warden Owen at the helm and Harry Cudmore calling the tactics, showed they were not too rusty. Everyone except Cayard, who won easily counting four firsts and two seconds and discarding his one bad result, an eighth, had problems with the shifty winds and the unforgiving nature of a closely- matched fleet of nine.

The weather gods were in perverse mood for the second day of the Rover Series for 278 yachts racing in Loch Fyne. Early squally winds dismasted two yachts, saw a third holed and racing delayed only for the wind to die completely leaving competitors at the mercy of a relentless downpour.

Ireland's Tom Roche, in Advocate, took over the leadership of Class 1 finishing coming second to Brian Buchanan's Hesperia yesterday. In Class 2, second place for Geoff Howison's Local Hero VII to Anthony de Mulder's Victric 3 kept Howison just ahead of de Mulder after three races.

50-FOOT REGATTA (La Rochelle): Final overall positions (one discard): 1 P Cayard (It, Capricorno) 9.25pts; 2 J Kolius (Jap, Champosa) 21.75; 3 E Warden Owen (GB, Indulgence) 26; 4 F De Angelis (It, Mandrake) 26.75; 5 M Pajot (Fr, Carat Citroen) 29.75; 6 P Gilmour (Aus, Ragamuffin) 31; 7 P Lester (Ger, Container) 32; 8 P Mas (Fr, Corum) 35; 9 D Cummins (Irl, Heaven is Irish) 36. Standings after two regattas: 1= Pajot, Cayard 5.75pts; 3 Kolius 6; 4 Gilmour 9; 5 Mas 10; 6 De Angelis 11; 7= Lester, Cummins, Warden Owen.