Sailing: Provezza set to join the British

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The Independent Online
THE last racing yachts built to the effective, expensive and now discarded International Offshore handicapping rules took to Hayling Bay yesterday for a pair of Two Ton World Cup races, writes Stuart Alexander from Cowes.

Only seven 45-footers competed in the race but none of them were from Britain. That treat will have to wait for the Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup (CMAC) at the end of next week, when the Turkish yacht Provezza will become part of the British team and will also be mainly crewed by Britons.

The 50-footers as always chose to set their own course for the practice races ahead of their programme which starts today. With the likes of Paul Cayard, John Kolius, Peter Gilmour, Marc Pajot and our own Eddie Warden Owen competing, the high street looks more like an America's Cup venue.

Today's inshore two-ton races showed how close these yachts are in speed and how much of a premium there will be on a clean start, error-free tactics, and slick crew work.

Australia's Great News II, which competed for Britain as Oracle in the 1991 CMAC, went from first to last in the first race as Japan's Swing won powerfully. She also pulled back to second in the second race, when the wind shifted the direction of everything but the charge of Italy's Larouge to the front.