Sailing: Pressure builds on Pajot

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The Independent Online
With just five days until the start of the second series of races in both the Louis Vuitton Cup for the seven America's Cup Challengers, and the Citizen Cup for the three Defenders, all 10 syndicates began work in earnest yesterday after the late completion of the first round because of bad weather. The greatest pressure seems to be on the French who, with one win so far, have decided to bring their latest boat into play but have been told that they must change it before they will be given a certificate to race.

The scrutineers have refused to allow a device by the designer, Philippe Briand, which would allow them to extend the trailing-edge blade of the keel, in much the same way as the trailing flaps of an aircraft wing can be extended. This blow to French enterprise will have swallowed much time and money in development.

Most confident are Team New Zealand, and, more quietly, John Bertrand's oneAustralia. TNZ's skipper Russell Coutts and oneAustralia's tactician Glenn Bourke are keeping their options open on which of their two boats they will use for the six races, whichstart next Sunday, each victory counting for two points. There are three more Defender round-robins before the semi-finals on 18 March.

Very happy with being second overall with so little sailing and racing time under their belts, Chris Dickson's Tag Heuer will continue to experiment with their single boat, designed by Bruce Farr and, at times, showing impressive speed potential.

Nippon Challenge, whose crew are showing how they have learned to react decisively if they see something that needs doing, like the extensive modification of their first new boat, are expected to continue to refine the developments in that boat, as theirlatest machine is only just leaving Japan.

LOUIS VUITTON CUP (for America's Cup Challengers) First round robin final standings: 1 Team New Zealand (R Coutts) 6 wins, 0 defeats; 2 Tag Heuer (C Dickson) 5-1; 3 Nippon Challenge (M Namba) 4-2; 4 oneAustralia (J Bertrand) 3-3; 4 Sydney '95 (S Fischer)2-4; 5 (FranceAmerica) (M Pajot) 1-5; 6 Bayona-Valencia (P Campos)


CITIZEN CUP (for America's Cup Defenders) First round robin final standings: 1 Pact '95 (K Mahaney) 5-1; 2 Stars & Stripes (D Conner) 3-3; 3 America3 (W Koch) 1-5.