SAILING: Vascotti raises Europe's standard

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By Stuart Alexander

THE EUROPE team for next week's Admiral's Cup laid down a powerful marker yesterday when the mid-sized member of its three-boat team, Merit Cup, put in a strong finish to win by one point the inaugural Sydney 40 World Championship.

With the America's Cup winner Murray Jones, of New Zealand, and British navigator Mark Chisnell to help him, helmsman Vaso Vascotti saw the previous series leaders, Karol Jablonski and Markus Wieser, slacken their grip in Thomas Friese's MK Cafe. The Germans had won the Mumm 36 World Championship in mid-June at Kiel.

Also having a less than shining finish in the Solent light airs was the British Admiral's Cup crew on team captain Stephen Bailey's Arbitrator. But they hung on to third in a tie-break with Italian AC team boat Invicta, skippered by Paolo Cian.

A second win in the Hoya Visioncare Grand Prix for Ultra 30s went to the defending national champion, Russell Peters, in DBS at Southsea.

Lawrie Smith set a fastest average of 10.14 knots for the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Cowes to St Malo Race in the Whitbread 60 Silk Cut. Peter Clutterbuck's 43-foot trimaran, Spirit of England, set a multihull record of 10.83 knots in the fast reaching conditions which saw Robbie Cameron- Davies take the premier prize, the Yeoman Bowl in J Spirit.