Spanish fleet threaten to withdraw

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The Independent Online
A threatened walk-out by the Spanish competitors in the Glenfiddich Gold Cup was averted yesterday, but sour complaints about the management of what should have been the crowning event of the European Melges 24 season abounded at the Olympic marina.

Luis-Martinez Doreste ignored diplomatic subtlety by posting on the notice board a letter he had sent to the organisers saying "we feel that the fact that in every race the big majority of the reports from the jury have been against Spanish crews... makes the reliability of the jury very doubtful".

As the chairman of the five-man jury, Manel Pedreira, is Spanish, he was even less amused to read further on that "this event is not being held fairly and we do not feel ready to carry on playing this game". Another letter, from the chairman of the race committee to the jury, was hastily withdrawn.

After a little delay, all the Spanish boats went out in the first race. The winner was Ken Thelen of Norway, who opened a big lead on Giorgio Zuccoli of Italy. Keeping the British flag flying were John Merricks and Ian Walker, who recovered from being 14th to finish fourth and keep the overall lead.