Sailing: Smart start for Walker


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The Independent Online

Britain's Graham Walker took the crew of his 50-footer, Indulgence, into battle for the first time here yesterday. A fifth and a second place in the two races was a satisfying way to open their account amid a quality field, writes Stuart Alexander from La Rochelle.

Among the luminaries providing opposition for Walker was America's Paul Cayard, Australia's Peter Gilmour, Francesco di Angelis and Rod Davis on Italy's Mandake, France's Marc Pajot, Peter Lester and Russell Coutts on Germany's Container, and John Kolius on Japan's Champosa.

Britain's Eddie Warden Owen and tactician Harry Cudmore are also competing but it is Cayard who heads the pack after two races with two wins.

'This concentration of the world's best, and that includes sail trimmers and other specialist crewmen, in a small fleet of nine is also the sort of thing we will be up against in the Admiral's Cup later this year,' Walker said.

A Department of Transport inquiry will be opened in Southampton today on the death of Bill Vincent, who was lost overboard from Heath Insured, the last of the 10 yachts in the British Steel Challenge, which finished yesterday morning.

50FT REGATTA (La Rochelle) Race One (subject to protest): 1 P Cayard (Capricorno, US); 2 P Gilmour (Ragamuffin, Aus); 3 P Lester (Container GB); 4 D Cummins (Heaven is Irish GB); 5 E Warden Owen (Indulgence, GB); 6 M Pajot (Carat, Fr); 7 F Di Angelis (Mandrake, It); 8 P Mas (Corum); 9 J Kolius (Champosa, US). Race Two: (subject to protest): 1 Cayard; 2 Warden Owen; 3 Mas; 4 Lester; 5 Kolius; 6 Di Angelis; 7 D Cummins; 8 Pajot; 9 Gilmour.