Sailing: Matthews' crusade

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The Independent Online
COWES' SHORESIDE and High Street may not match it, but the Caribbean returned to the Solent yesterday, with blue skies and sunshine presiding over a 15-20 knot south-westerly trade wind which is turning this Cowes week into a classic.

One epic confrontation was the struggle to win the coveted New York Yacht Club Challenge Trophy. Richard Matthews was on a hat-trick with his old 12-metre Crusader, but he was pipped by five seconds when Peter Ogden, with tactician Jeremy Robinson, squeezed an extra ounce of performance out of his Swan 60, Spirit of Jethou, which is named after the island he owns in the Channel Islands.

Stuart Jardine was having a more challenging day, notching up his worst result of the week in the X One Designs with a 17th position. But he is still runaway leader overall and could wrap up the Captain's Cup today.

While Ted Turner was suffering his first defeat in Sayonara to George Coumantaros' Boomerang, Ludde Ingvall was taking his second beating of the week at the hands of Geoff Meek in the Maxi One Designs.

But Ingvall cannot finish worse than second in this sixth of seven regattas in the Adecco World Championship and is so far ahead he could sit out the finale, the Fastnet Race, and still take the winner's prize of pounds 250,000. He will be racing hard.

Taking full advantage of the glorious conditions were three gentlemen in a boat - retired dentist Chris Hall and two retired doctors, Brian Orr and John Terry.

With a combined age approaching 200 they decided it was time for a day out in one of the Island Sailing Club's fleet of eight Sonars, which like theirs - Biscuit - all have the consecutive letters ISC in their names, and duly chartered it. They cost from about pounds 60 a day and so provide good value per person, which would have been even better if a fourth recruit, retired judge John Wroath, had turned up. One wit observed they would then have been pushing 300, but that surely referred to kilos. Unfortunately, the intrepid threesome hit a rock on their way to Gurnard and had to retire.

Spending a week in Pomgolia, the Australian lawyer Andrew Thorpe, whose normal beat is out of the Royal Perth Yacht Club, had taken his Fremantle 8, F'Eightal Attraction, to victory on Wednesday only to hit a hard piece of Lepe Spit yesterday.

Two more tacks and the keel fell off, but Thorpe managed to steer the boat back to Cowes under jib, take a tow from a Squadron launch for the last few hundred yards and was left scratching his head about whether he might be able to find and recover the lead at low tide.