Sailing: Matthews' vintage show in Crusader

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The Independent Online
FOR THE second time in seven years, Richard Matthews steered his vintage 12-metre Crusader to victory in the Britannia Cup at Skandia Life Cowes Week here yesterday. It was also his second consecutive Class 1 win. There was less sunshine, but the 12-17 knot easterly wind and the long bouts of windward work suited the yacht, which was the last to represent Britain in an America's Cup, in Australia in 1986-87.

Crusader beat Peter Ogden's Spirit of Jethou by three and half minutes, but there was just one second between the top two in Class 2. The prize went to Chris Jago's Swan 44 Flamboyant ahead of Jonty Sherwill, who was driving the 38ft Prima One Design Diva.

Sherwill was pleased his yacht came through so well after mounting Hamstead Ledge rocks the day before and sitting two feet out of the water, while Jago was relieved and delighted to have got away with it as his crew had refused to change up from the No 2 jib to the No 1 on the grounds that they did not want to have to repack two sails.

The ILC Maxis again went to play in Sandown Bay, Ted Turner winning both races in Sayonara as George Coumantaris' Boomerang and Jim Dolan's Sagamore swapped second and third. The eight Maxi One Designs, minus Ross Field in Hamble for repairs, once again charged up and down the eastern Solent, with Ludde Ingvall's Skandia taking revenge on Tuesday's Round the Island winner, Geoff Meek in Rainbow Magic, by just 32 seconds.

With the experiment of using a committee boat start for four classes each day being declared a success, plans to extend their use further in the future, perhaps to as much as 50 per cent of the boats each day, were among the developments being discussed for the annual regatta in Cowes yesterday.

The local council still hopes that a pounds 2m scheme to extend the marina and build a public boardwalk will find the funding, while the director of Cowes Combined Clubs, Stuart Quarrie, said he hoped to reach 1,000 yachts for the 2000 event. To attract them, Bill West, of Skandia Life, said they would offer two prizes of pounds 2,000.

Eventually, it may be that the event will become Cowes Fortnight, one week for the smaller day boats and sports boats, and one for the larger keel boats.

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