Sailing: Wayward wind delivers victory for De Mulder

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The Independent Online
THE COURSE-SETTERS had to take a cautious line when trying to second-guess the weather on a second glorious day of Skandia Life Cowes Week here yesterday. With the tide still flooding strongly east and the breeze also in the east, they sent the big boats towards Portsmouth wondering if the wind would hold or, as it had done the previous day, switch to a south-westerly.

The wind held, leading to a much shorter race than envisaged, taking just over two-and-a-half hours and involving precious little work or tactical thinking. The big boats with their equally big crews looked distinctly overmanned.

But the conditions helped that lower-handicapped old campaigner, Tony de Mulder, as his Ed Dubois-designed 37-footer Victric 4 took the Glazebrook Challenge Cup ahead of Scotland's Kevin Sproul, at the helm of the Farr 40 Wolf, and the hero of the recent Admiral's Cup, Adrian Stead, sailing Warlord for a visiting American, James Richardson.

That race was all over far too fast to tire out such finely tuned athletes, but as the tide turned to a westward ebb many of the smaller boats were caught out, trying desperately to edge across to the finish line of Cowes before being swept towards the western Solent, with too little breeze to fight their way back.

While many struggled others prospered, including Ivan Coryn, who notched up his second straight win in Ffugue, and the Parisien Eric Fries added a first in Class 2 to his second place on the opening day.

A surprising 13 syndicates have submitted entries for the Louis Vuitton Cup elimination series to find the sole challenger for the America's Cup. It was expected there would be 10 - five from the United States and one each from France, Spain, Italy, Japan and Australia. But the second French syndicate, a St Petersburg boat and a Swiss syndicate have repeated their intention to compete. They must all be in Auckland by 18 September, but the final tally on the start line for the first round-robin on 18 October could still be 10.

After a win in the Laser European Championship, Ben Ainslie, who today makes a celebrity visit to the Optimist National Championships in Pwllheli, will be given automatic selection without trials if he is in the top three of the World Championship in Brazil in February.

Results, Digest, page 9

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