Sailing: Percy closes in on European triumph

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S Iain Percy is one race away from winning gold in the European Finn Championship in Ostend today.

The 23-year-old from Winchester took the bronze medal at his first attempt last year, and his fourth place yesterday extended his lead over the reigning Olympic gold medalist and world champion, Mateusz Kusnierewicz, of Poland, to nine points.

"I kept an eye on what Mateusz was doing, but conditions were so tricky you really had to sail your own race," said Percy, who is seen as a hot prospect for an Olympic medal next year.

He was fourth in the World Championships at Melbourne in January, holds the same position in the world rankings, and is making giant strides in the heavier of the two single-handed Olympic classes.

Two big America's Cup names crashed out of the Royal Lymington Cup yesterday. Both the New Zealanders Gavin Brady, linked with two of the five American syndicates lining up for the Louis Vuitton Cup this October, and John Cutler, a helmsman on Dawn Riley's San Francisco-based America True, failed to make the cut from the six in Group A. It was won by another Kiwi, Murray Jones, with Britain's Andy Beadsworth chasing second-placed Luc Pillot, of France.

But enjoying an unbeaten path to the second-round robin, due to be completed today, is Britain's Ian Williams, who led Group B after his five wins.