Sailing: Fastnet future in doubt

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The Independent Online
THE Fastnet Race may be dropped from the bi-annual Admiral's Cup and a new breed of boats and races introduced under the first proposals of a steering committee to look at the 1995 event, writes Stuart Alexander.

The present format requires three boats per team with the best two results from four inshore races and two offshore, culminating with the Fastnet race, counting towards the overall scores. As a temporary measure the Royal Ocean Racing Club, which organises the event, has also said that in 1993 countries may enter only two boats.

Under the 1995 proposals there would again be three-boat teams. These would be a 44 to 46ft and a 40ft boat, plus a new 36-footer.

The cup series itself would be held separately and in advance of Cowes Week with more races in the Solent, and the series would end with a 500-mile offshore race ending in Cowes. This would remove the cost-hiking pressure of overlapping with Cowes Week regatta races which, with the 605- mile Fastnet race starting at the end, would be open on an individual basis to yachts competing in the Admiral's Cup.

The RORC has still to find a British team to compete this year in July. It would be embarrassing indeed if the host country could not muster a team.

Robin Knox-Johnston and Peter Blake are still a day ahead of schedule in their attempt to sail round the world in 80 days. Their catamaran ENZA New Zealand is off the coast of Mauritania, West Africa, after covering 276 nautical miles in the past 24 hours.