Youthful Brits on the right tack

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The Independent Online
Britain's policy of giving youth a chance in the Admiral's Cup has paid off handsomely so far, holding a second position that few would have predicted going into the second week.

The top-placed Americans are now looking ever-more likely winners, the Germans would be even further ahead of the under-performing New Zealanders if their previously dominant 40-footer, Pinta, had not been last in the 187-mile Channel Race, and the defending Italians are fifth. For Britain, any lack of horsepower has been more than made up by maximum smarts and minimum errors.

Doing particularly well are the young team (with a couple of exceptions) on Tim Barratt's Mumm 36 Bradamante, led by the Olympic silver medal pairing of John Merricks and Ian Walker. They are leading their class and are third-highest scorers overall after America's big boat, Flash Gordon, run by Kenny Read and Jim Brady, and the Australian 40-footer G-Net, skippered by the evergreen Colin Beashel. Exalted company.

Today and tomorrow another 1996 silver medallist, Ben Ainslie, still only 19, joins Chris Law on Graham Walker's 45ft Corum Indulgence to tune his fearsomely instinctive eyes and nose to what could be some flukey conditions for a quartet of races in Christchurch Bay.

Yesterday was spent "prepping" by most of the fleet. It included further repairs to Syd Fischer's Australian 50-footer Ragamuffin, who had hit the rocks with her keel bulb. There was also an added celebration for Tony Buckingham's British team 40-footer, Easy Oars, for winning overall the CHS division of the Channel Race, which included many of the non- Admiral's Cup entries.

The ILC 40 class will hold a separate meeting on Wednesday to decide its position before a full meeting of those interested to be held by the Royal Ocean Racing Club to consider the format of the 1999 Admiral's Cup. The class has proved an expensive one and is blamed for the shortage of competing nations this year because there are so few boats available.

While some of the richer nations and individual owners may be content to see big, expensive boats included in the three-boat mix, there has been considerable lobbying to make changes which will make the event cheaper, and so more accessible. There have even been those who would lower the small boat limit to 30 feet, a daunting thought for an event in which the 605-mile Fastnet Race is, so far, compulsory.

The new rule which requires all crews to wear lifejackets if they are wearing foul weather oilskins on offshore races run by the RORC was given its first test yesterday when one of the competitors in the Channel Race, Paul Waxman, brought protests against four of his rivals. They were all dismissed, the first for lack of evidence, the other three because they had not been satisfactorily identified.

Although four classes were denied racing for the second day running, this time because there was not enough wind to drive them against a strong ebb tide, there was good, if also wet and chilly, racing for the rest of the 900-plus yachts in Cowes Week.

The Victory, XOD, Swallow and Squib classes will have to wait until today's forecast sunshine to open their accounts, but Tim Louis and Kit Hobday put the first of what could be substantial haul of silverware this week on to the mantelpiece when their new 41ft Independent Bear took the Glazebrook Challenge Trophy.

They handled the 14-knot easterly to perfection.



CHAMPAGNE MUMM ADMIRAL'S CUP (Cowes, Isle of Wight): IMS (big boat) class (corrected times according to handicap): 1 Madina Milano (It) 22hr 22min 20sec; 2 Flash Gordon 3 (US) 22:39.29, 3 Numbers (NZ) 22:49.48, 4 Corum Indulgence (GB) 23:03.46; 5 Rubin XIV (Ger) 23:17.57; 6 Investor (Scan) 23:29.43; 7 Ragamuffin (Aus) 23:37.10. ILC 40 class: 1 MK Cafe (US) 24:03.53; 2 G'Net (Aus) 24:06.04, 3 Easy Oars (GB) 24:06.29; 4 Fram XIV (Scan) 24:06.56, 5 Brava Q8 (It) 24:08.22, 6 Mean Machine (NZ) 24:11.25, 7 Pinta (Ger) 24:14.47

MUMM 36 class: 1 Georgia Express 3 (NZ) 25:13.04; 2 Jameson (US) 25:15.09; 3 Bradamante (GB) 25:25.57; 4 Breeze (It) 25:40.54; 5 Thomas I Punkt (Ger) 25:43.28; 6 Sea (Aus) 25:45.48; 7 Mumm-a-Mia (Scan) 25:47.29. Overall team standings: 1 US 33.75; 2 Great Britain 45.00; 3 Germany 51.50; 4 New Zealand 54.38; 5 Italy 60.00; 6 Australia 61.88; 7 Scandanavia 86.50.

MAXI CLASS CHS: 1 Ocean Marine (Skandia Longobardo); 2 J Caulcutt (Maxima). Class 1 CHS: 1 T Louis and K Hobday (Independent Bear); 2 J Wardill (Australian Maid); 3 T Hester and G Williams (Wolf). Class 2 CHS: 1 S James (Jacobite); 2 C Jago (Flamboyany); 3 T Mack (McFly). Class 3 CHS: 1 A Wirodihardjo and C de Froidevi (Twee Deste); 2 P Jones (Hoodlum); 3 Tommy Murphy (Moonlight Express). Class 4 CHS: 1 A Pearce (Magnum); 2 M Del Breil (Caroline); 3 I Buize (Passegeule). Class 5 CHS: 1 Five Star Sailing (Verif AST); 2 M Burtinshaw (Fourshaw); 3 R McLeod (Sareema). Class 6 CHS: 1 J and J Dudley (Purple Haze; 2 C McKeon (Kandoo); 3 A Wilkins (Non Plus). Class 7 ISC: 1 T and J Pettit (Le Fred); 2 P and V Newell (Chartreuse III); 3 J Terry and D Guy (Debonair). Class 8 ISC: 1 R Barlow (Dimomedes); 2 D Steele (Uforia); 3 W Wester (Quo Vadis of Cowes). Class 9A SBR: 1 M Lennon (Rawhide); 2 S Hawthorn (Le Bouchon); 3 G Bol (Bolwerk). Class 9B SBR: 1 Beneteau UK (Yachting World's `Nichole'); 2 Javelin Sailing Promotion (Javelin I); 3 C and H Neve (No Limit).

SIGMA 38: 1 N and A Haigh (Steamy Windows); 2 D Aisher (Yeoman XXVIII); 3 Army Sailing Association (Redcoat III).

SUNFAST 36: 1 National Grid (Sunsail Thirty); 2 Eagle Star Insurance (Sunsail Eagle Star); 3 British Fuels (Sunsail 28).

SIGMA 33: 1 M Ewart-Smith, J Platt and M Bought (Honey of Bosham); 2 V and P and Paul Bowen (Sigmatic II); 3 J Nelson (Shadowfax).

X-99: 1 P Fessler (Panic IV); 2 A McIrvine (Next Jekyll); 3 J and K Pollard (Xsceptre).

CONTESSA 32: 1 F Gresham and P Inchbald (Trader Jo); 2 D Richards, R Rouse, T Vanner (Blanoc); 3 A Penfold and Partners and T Penfo (Sunmaid VI)

INTERNATIONAL GLENFIDDICH MELGES 24: 1 R Peacock (Cavendish Coolcats); 2 G Sunderland (Alliance and Leicester); 3 T Freytag (Mad Cap).

HUNTER 707: 1 R and S Hawkes (Sabatour); 2 P Curtis (Sparkel); 3 D Wheldon (Hitch Hiker).

NATIONAL SONATA: 1 D and R Morris (Steamy Windows); 2 D and S Lippold (Dry Red); 3 B Sharp (Rondo)

SONAR: 1 Sonar Yachts; 2 A Cassell Foundation (Jasmine); 3 Sonar Yachts

DARING: 1 R Preston, J and G Simpson (Decanter); 2 R Syme R and R Richardson (Doublet); 3 W Fox-Pitt and M Gwinner (Dido)

INTERNATIONAL ETCHELLS 22: 1 P Andreae (candida); 2 R Fielder (Warp Factor V); 3 A Walters (Sunshine).

INTERNATIONAL DRAGON: 1 R and J Tapp (Hestia I); 2 C Caws, R Payne, C and J Field (Sobriety!); 3 W Schaake (Misfit).

NATIONAL SWALLOW: 1 J Vernon (Archon); 2 S Miller, R Hindson, E O'Kelly (Echo); 3 B Burnett, C Hyatt (Serenade).

REDWING: 1 K Benham and M Benhan (Paroquet); 2 J Cleave (Flamingo); 3 Brabazon (Tara).

SOLENT SUNBEAM: 1 P, S and J O'Hea (Joy); 2 P Nicholson and P Brauner (Dainty); 3 J and G Oldham (Query).

INTERNATIONAL FLYING FIFTEEN: 1 D Rutherford and B Byham (Byffocal); 2 T Dixon (Dusty); 3 M Winkles (Comfortably Numb).

CORK 1720: 1 S Hawthorn (Le Bouchon); 2 J English and T Durcan (T Bone); 3 C Nicholson (Corker).