Sailing: Collins forced to make great sacrifice

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A RESIGNED George Collins dropped himself from his own Chessie Racing team yesterday and brings in Britain's Derek Clark as a strategist with local knowledge.

The Baltimore businessman who has privately funded Maryland's first Whitbread race entry will be on board at the start in La Rochelle and will rejoin it for the closing stages in the Solent. "I was looking forward to doing this leg, but there's too much at stake," he said.

For this 450-mile leg Dennis Conner will be alongside Paul Standbridge on Toshiba, bidding to emulate his British partner, who won the eighth leg from Annapolis; while Paul Cayard has granted crewman Marco Constant's wish to be on board EF Language for what may be a victory lap now that the overall points win is in the bag.

Constant badly broke his left wrist just before the finish of the leg from Fort Lauderdale to Baltimore, but was determined to be in at the end.

Collins is relying on skipper John Kostecki, as Chessie is just 10 points, and one place, behind Grant Dalton, who is fighting to keep Merit Cup third overall.

Collins' commitment to winning has been far beyond being a self-indulgent owner, but even for him the disappointment was hard to hide. "It wasn't easy, but it was the right decision," said the 57-year old Collins. "I would have had to take a bowman off and that could hurt us as we are battling up the coast."