Sailing: Miller just too quick: Cowes Week picks up speed in stronger winds

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The Independent Online
ESSEX GIRL, Richard Matthews' 45-footer, produced a speedy performance yesterday, but was still not quick enough to win the Sir Walter Preston Challenge Cup.

The wind revitalised Cowes Week and Matthews, in the Stephen Jones design, powered down the Solent on a drag race of a course and then sped back under a spinnaker.

But Crackerjack, a production 46-footer from Finland, is always well sailed and Keith Miller is no stranger to the winner's enclosure. When the computer had done its work he emerged the winner by 2min 10sec.

Boat handling came a little more into play as the western Solent became more boisterous. The big German 56- footer Splendid produced a particularly spectacular corkscrew broach into the wind.

Some of the Mumm 36s were a little unwise mid-race to go south of the Beta buoy, part of the eventual finish line, instead of north, as the sailing instructions required.

Although he was first over the finish, Neal McDonald, in Shogun, duly retired. But Tom Roche, in Noddy, and John Webley, in Ferocious, protested their innocence and the fallibility of the spotters' eyesight.

That left Germany's youth squad, in Aerosail, first ahead of two Italian boats, Mumm a Mia], steered by the Welshman Eddie Warden Owen, and Vaporetto Polti.

There was a similar case of Beta buoy dyslexia aboard Alpha of Devonport, the 50- footer chartered by the Ocean Youth Club, who had their patron, Prince Edward, aboard. Peter Baines scored his second win of the week in the X One class. The Westmacott brothers, Richard and William, sailing with David Markby, added a second to their win of the previous day.