Sailing: New Zealand's complaint denied

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Last minute attempts by the New Zealanders to wrong-foot their rivals, the United States, in the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup, which starts in the Solent today were swiftly side-stepped by the Americans yesterday, but the British won a point over the Scandinavians in their argument for equal handicapping.

The Kiwi big boat, Numbers, skippered by Russell Coutts, themselves unsuccessfully questioned over the legality of their mast last weekend, brought complaints against the American boat, Mean machine, the boat likely to give them the hardest competition, and then against the Italian big boat Madina. Both were lost.

But the question posed by Graham Walker's Corum Indulgence over why Scandinavia's Investor, a sistership, should have a handicap advantage was resolved in Corum's favour as Investor's rating was made equal.

All will pale into insignificance today as the first pair of inshore races are staged in the Solent with brisk conditions forecast. The British team, though still not expected to beat the joint favourites New Zealand and the US, are quietly confident.