Sailing: Six-man board at Admiral's Cup helm

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THE Royal Ocean Racing Club yesterday announced that it is streamlining its management of the Admiral's Cup in order to improve continuity and provide a stable platform for private and corporate owners.

The commodore, John Dare, is joined by the secretary, Alan Green; John Bourke, the chairman of the Offshore Racing Club; Stuart Quarrie; France's Luc Gelluseau; and Geoff Stagg, the Antipodean representative who is the president of Farr International: these six wise men will steer the event through to 1995, particularly in the choice of boats to be used.

The eight national teams of three boats contesting the 1991 Admiral's Cup produced some good racing and, having won it for the first time, the French, sponsored by Corum, were encouraged to allocate a significant budget to defend in 1993.

Fears about recession and the availability of top boats being built to the grand prix international offshore handicap rule led to a change in format which requires only two boats in 1993, but allows three, one each of the 50ft, 45ft and 40ft categories, the best two scores of which count from each of the six races.

That prevented a slide into the new International Measurement System, which is retained for the Commodore's Cup in intervening, even, years. But, even there, the wish is to simplify big boat racing first into a straight boat for boat, level rating rule for 45-footers based on the IMS with, later, a second category for 35-footers.

Mixed light and brisk winds are making conditions tricky for the 10 boats in the British Steel Challenge after the turning point in the southern Pacific on their way to Hobart.

BRITISH STEEL CHALLENGE ROUND-THE- WORLD RACE Second leg (Rio de Janeiro to Hobart): Leading positions (with miles to go): 1 Nuclear Electric, 3,235; 2 Commmercial Union, 3,239; 3 British Steel II, 3,268; 4 Hofbrau, 3,314; 5 Coopers & Lybrand, 3,373; 6 Heath Insured, 3,409; 7 Pride of Teesside, 3,421; 8 Group 4, 3,444; 9 Interspray, 3,696; 10 Rhone-Poulenc, 3,914.