Sailing: Cudmore fails in attempt to gain substitute: French lead the objections to the Irish Admiral's Cup team's proposal to alter the regulations in order to call upon a replacement yacht

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The Independent Online
A MIXTURE of blarney and arm- twisting being employed by the Irish team in the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup foundered on the rocks of French intransigence and many other deaf ears here last night.

All of Harry Cudmore's attempts to persuade his opponents to vote in favour of altering the rules to allow the Irish to restore their team to full strength came to nothing and the Irish must soldier on with two, rather than, three boats.

As time ran out ahead of the third race, a 24-mile inshore affair in Hayling Bay today, the French said 'non' to Cudmore, who put Jameson I, the 40-footer chartered from King Harald, of Norway, on to the rocks and out of the competition on Friday. He hoped to bring in a German yacht which was recently second in the World One Ton Championship.

Stoking up pressure by an appeal to 'sportsmanship', Cudmore had asked the international jury if a rule, which clearly states that yachts cannot be substituted after the first race, could be changed if the other seven countries agreed unanimously.

Many of the other skippers did not wish to be seen to be the ones objecting, though it was not difficult to find competitors around the marina who thought that Cudmore and the Irish should pay the penalty for their mistake and were very unhappy to think that a substitution might be allowed.

The French Corum team were not so coy, issuing a statement saying 'French say yes to leaving the rules unchanged' and adding 'we have all entered a regatta where the rules are known and accepted. Although they can be discussed before, they apply strictly once the first race has started.'

Meanwhile, the British trio of Indulgence, Provezza Source and GBE International take up cudgels with their backs to the wall and lying seventh of the eight countries.

Having paid his own penalty for a navigational mistake on Saturday, Dennis Conner was in majestic form in the Etchells 22 class, leading the 49-boat fleet from start to finish. He had started the day with English breakfast in the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club to announce that stories that he was the skipper of Winston, in name only, could be swept aside.

He plans to be at the helm for the first leg of the Whitbread Round the World Race, starting on 25 September, from Southampton to Uruguay, and again for the third leg starting next January from Fremantle to Auckland. He will miss the second leg through the Southern ocean as he is committed to the Etchells World Championship in Brisbane.

The winner of the day's top prize, the Glazebrooke Challenge Trophy, was Sweden's Hans Drakenburg in the 30-year-old Anahita. The winners of the booby prizes were those 26 yachts in Class 4 disqualified because of indiscipline on the start line, and the Sonata class, which misunderstood the course instructions, half going one way, half the other.

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