Sailing: Riley beats nerves to pip Conner

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TWO ENDS of the emotional spectrum saw Paul Cayard's AmericaOne outgunned by Italy's table-topping Prada Challenge in the second round of the Louis Vuitton Cup yesterday as Cayard's San Francisco rival Dawn Riley beat Dennis Conner to move up to third overall.

Second is the revitalised Young America, which has recovered strongly with its replacement boat after its original steed narrowly avoided sinking last week when hit by major structural failure.

"We're going for gold," said an ecstatic Riley yesterday as her low-budget, co-ed crew played the oscillating 8-15 knot wind on what she described as "a very nerve-wracking day".

Defying the laws of supply and demand, there was a repeated warning yesterday that entries for next year's Skandia Life Cowes Week would be limited to 1,000 but with a promise that a lid would be kept on entry fees. This follows a new three-year deal worth pounds 1.5m signed yesterday by the insurance company's marketing director, Bill West, and the Cowes Week commercial chairman, Dick Bradbeer.

Stuart Quarrie, director of Cowes Combined Clubs, which organises the racing, said they had already received over 400 pre-registrations.

He also said there was no prospect in the immediate future of extending the regatta to two weeks, but the move to committee boat starts in the Solent, which had been well received, would be continued.

While the week no longer has a home-grown royal yacht, the new princes of the realm will be represented by property developer Mike Slade, whose new 90-foot Leopard 2000 will join the announced return of the Maxi One Designs.

Slade's Reichel-Pugh designed carbon fibre, water-ballasted flyer will also be carrying Skandia colours as it tries to break existing records for Round the Island (of Wight) and Cowes to St Malo.