Sailing: Encouragement for Walker and Covell

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The Independent Online
IT WAS the survival of the fittest as Britain's Keelboat sailors enjoyed mixed fortunes on a blustery Ijsselmeer, at the Spa Olympic regatta in the Netherlands yesterday.

In winds never below 20 knots and gusting as high as 30, Soling skipper Andrew Beadsworth was not experiencing his favourite conditions in the first race, finishing 11th, and then had to retire from the second after ripping a fitting out of the deck.

In the Star, the new pairing of Ian Walker and Mark Covell looked very strong in the heavy going, moving up from eighth to fourth place in their first race and lying second to Australia's superlative Colin Beashel in the second, before losing a place at the end of the second run to finish third and leave them in fifth place overall.

"That's the first time we have been overtaken downwind," Walker said, "but if you push it too hard you can drop the rig." Two did, and a third of the 25-boat fleet failed to finish the day because of gear failure.

For Beadsworth, Barry Parkin and Richard Sydenham their breakage was an irritation. They are just recovering some form and pace, and need a good result in today's final qualifying race for the top 12 to ensure qualification for the match-race final.

Still in command of the Laser fleet is Ben Ainslie, who even recovered from a capsize just before the finish to win the last of his three races.

Results, Digest, page 29