Sailing: Schuemann made to struggle

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The Independent Online
The triple Olympic gold medallist Jochen Schuemann was struggling yesterday in the opening races of the Swedish Match Racing World Championships in Marstrand.

With the French veteran Marc Pajot in his crew, he failed to score a single win in five starts in an event which has attracted most of the world's top 10, with the notable exception of the 1996 champion, Russell Coutts.

British hopes lie with Chris Law, who scored only two wins in five races despite having New Zealand's Murray Jones, with whom he worked so effectively at the America's Cup warm-up in Auckland, as tactician.

Law beat another Olympic gold medallist, Denmark's Jesper Bank, and a second Dane, Morten Henriksen, but having been in the lead he went down to the Australian Peter Gilmour, France's Thierry Peponnet and the local hero, Magnus Holmberg, to finish the day 2-3.

It was Holmberg who was heading the lists at the end of the day, having completed six races and won five of them. His only defeat was by Henriksen, and his scalps included Gilmour - with a Japanese America's Cup crew - Peponnet, Shuemann and Sten Mohr, the third Dane at the party.

In very shifty west to north-west winds, the course had constantly to be realigned and the number of laps was increased from two to three as the distance was shortened to try to avoid distortions.

The smallest field since 1963, seven nations with three-boat teams, will contest the nine-race Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cup series starting on 31 July. Defenders Italy meet Great Britain, America, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavia in a mixture of six short inshore, a short offshore and a Channel Race, culminating with the 605-mile Fastnet Race. The British team is Graham Walker's 45ft Indulgence, Tony Buckingham's Easy Oars, and Tim Barrett's Mumm 36, Bradamante.