Sat, Feb 07, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Mechanical failure causes Brit Ainslie to yield to Coutts

AP , AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Team Origin have trouble with their sails while competing against BMW Oracle Racing on day two of Pacific Series phase 2 round-robin sailing off Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday.

PHOTO: AP

Mechanical failure forced Britain’s Team Origin to yield to Oracle Racing of the US in Pacific Series racing for America’s Cup teams yesterday.

The clash between Olympic gold medalists Russell Coutts, on the helm for Oracle, and Ben Ainslie, steering Team Origin, led to the most intense pre-start of the series so far and a collision that saw Oracle docked a point and Team Origin a half-point.

Beijing Finn gold medalist Ainslie won the start and held the lead on the first upwind leg, leading by 14 seconds around the weather mark, but mechanical problems struck on the approach to the leeward mark.

Team Origin’s head-sail refused to feed into its track and Ainslie was forced to sail past the mark as his crew struggled to gather the lowered spinnaker and raise the jib for the next weather leg.

The damage proved beyond repair and Team Origin, beaten only once in the regatta, was forced to concede defeat.

Team New Zealand beat Italy’s Luna Rossa by 26 seconds to regain its winning momentum after a surprise loss to Italy’s Damiani Italia Challenge.

New Zealand established an advantage at the start and sailed a conservative race to lead around all marks and win comfortably.

America’s Cup holders Alinghi beat Italia Challenge by 44 seconds and joined Oracle with 2 points after two races.

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