Too close for French comfort

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The Independent Online

On a day when the slightest mistake or weakness was exposed and compounded by a continuing blustery, 25-knot south-westerly, the competitors in the Ancasta Mumm 36 World Championship had their work cut out in the Solent yesterday, writes Stuart Alexander.

Leading the increasingly depleted fleet from 14 countries was the Hong Kong boat, Corum Watches, skippered by the Frenchman, Luc Gellusseau. But with 39.25 points on the low scoring basis he had a comfort margin of just 0.75 from the American, Jim Brady, in No Problem.

Third, despite an 11 in the last race of the day, is the German, Thomas Friese, in I Punkt while Eddie Warden Owen with a first, a second and a third put Italy fourth with Mumm a Mia!

Out at the first mark of the first of the day's three races was British team member Mike Golding's Group 4 with a kink in the mast after a starboard running backstay fitting broke. A new mast was being fitted over night.

Also out with an inverted mast when leading overall was Gunnar Krantz in the Scandinavian yacht, Skandia. With no opportunity to discard bad results and also missing the third race his campaign is over.

Enough is enough, decided the Greek, George Andreadis, who is threatening to lodge a three-point protest about the organisational skills of the race committee. Britain's Tim Barrett in Bradamente was also in the wars again, pulling out of race one with a broken head sail halyard and then retiring completely in race two after inverting a mast which had replaced the one he lost last Saturday.