Ainslie outsmarts Alinghi crew

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The Independent Online

Britain's sailing success continued over the weekend as its fledgling America's Cup team toppled the king of the hill when Ben Ainslie outsmarted Ed Baird, and Origin took the scalp of the current holder, Alinghi, in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series.

Both the Alinghi skipper, Brad Butterworth, and mainsheet trimmer, Warwick Fleury, said they had been taken by surprise when, seconds before the start, Ainslie hooked under the Swiss boat, pushed them further than they realised, and forced them into the error of crossing the line early.

That was curtains for Baird, world sailor of the year in 2007, who had to turn back across the line and then follow the stern of 2008 world sailor of the year, Ainslie, for the rest of the 6.8-mile course sailed in 18 to 23 knots.

"Ben did a fantastic job," Mike Sanderson, Origin's sailing director, said. "We'd been keen on being the ones to push and we got the opportunity to make it more uncomfortable for them."

"You could say we blew the start," said four-time America's Cup winner Fleury. "We thought we were in a controlling position but were surprised."

Ainslie, with three Olympic golds, could also take pleasure in the success of the man who challenged him for the Olympic slot in China. Ed Wright took gold in the Finn class in the big, annual Olympic gathering in Miami.

Listen to Stuart Alexander talk to Grant Dalton below.