Sailing: Smith's bumpkin sparks feud over Fortuna: Kiwis challenge British skipper over sail extension for Round the World Race

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The Independent Online
THE simmering feud between Britain's Lawrie Smith and his New Zealand rival Grant Dalton erupted again yesterday as Dalton accused Smith of trying to enter an illegal yacht in the Whitbread Round the World Race.

Smith has fitted a twin-strut extension to the stern of his much-modified maxi Fortuna, which he is skippering for the Spanish state tobacco company Tabacalera.

It is companion to a remarkable wing-like glass-fibre mast with which he hopes to carry significantly more sail area and from which the boom for the mizzen sail protrudes out over the water. To control the sail on that boom Smith leads the rope sheets through the extension, which is known as a bumpkin or boomkin.

'We believe that Fortuna is clearly illegal because they are sheeting their mizzen sail through an outrigger and everyone knows that sheeting through an outrigger is illegal,' Dalton said in a written statement.

He wants the matter to be resolved before the Whitbread starts on 25 September and has decided not to lodge a protest when the two yachts clash at the end of this week in the Fastnet Race.

Only weeks ago the two skippers were involved in rows over whether the design of Dalton's bow on his new ketch New Zealand Endeavour was legal. The Offshore Racing Council's chief of rules and measurement, Ken Weller, said the so-called 'clipper' bow used by Dalton, Switzerland's Pierre Fehlmann and French skipper Daniel Malle was legal. Smith continues to question that.

The Whitbread race director Ian Bailey-Willmot said that the class rules of the International Offshore Rule seemed to allow bumpkins and a boat in the 1973 Whitbread, Tauranga, sailed with one. He has written to competitors urging that all such rows are cleared up by mutual consent.

In the gentler atmosphere of Cowes the Admiral's Cup fleet took a day off ahead of the final inshore races today and heard of the new Mumm 36, designed to the International Measurement System by Bruce Farr, which will be the design of small boat for the 1995 and 1997 Champagne Mumm Admiral's Cups.

It is already built in the United States by Carroll Marine, who will supply tooling to Beneteau in France, Cooksons in New Zealand and Astillero del Estuario in Argentina.

As the Royal Ocean Racing Club will receive a pounds 1,000 royalty for each boat sold and as Geoff Stagg of Farr International, who was also on the steering committee which chose the style of boat, predicts sales of 350 to 450 over the next three years, that promises rich pickings.

Nigel Bramwell's J44 J-Hawk won his weight in Mumm as he won the Britannia Cup on handicap, though the Royal Navy took line honours in Broomstick. Prince Philip, to the delight of his old friend Constantine, the former King of Greece, ended his occasionally troublesome visit with his first win in many a year, at the helm of Sir Owen Aisher's Sigma 38.

There was much squabbling in the Etchells 22s, whose race was cancelled on Tuesday because half thought they had to restart and half thought they did not. The friction continued yesterday with protest forms flying like Commons order papers in the normally more tranquil Cowes Combined Clubs race office.