Collision disrupts Louis Vuitton Trophy

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The Independent Online

A collision which crumpled the bow of one of the pair of BMW Oracle America's Cup vessels being used to contest the Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta in La Maddalena, Sardinia, has seriously disrupted the race schedule for at least the next few days, but there was at least some more good news for skipper Ben Ainslie and the crew of Britain's Team Origin.

The crash came as Bertrand Pace, at the helm for French team Aleph, tried to duck behind the stern of the Azzurra team boat but instead whacked the stern of his Italian rival.

Much blowing of whistles and waving of penalty flags, including a black disqualification flag for Pace, was overshadowed by both boats having to return to the dock, be hauled out, and handed over to the shore repair teams.

Watch the collision by clicking here.

While all the drama was focussed on the start line, Ainslie was involved in a mighty tussle with the German-French team All4One, having first to block them at the top turning mark and then being chased all the way home to win by just five seconds.

But a win is a win and that gave Britain a 2-3 record in a bid first to make the top eight of the 10 teams, all with America's Cup challenge hopes, and so avoid the cut which would mean exclusion from the quarter finals.

Not expecting to be similarly threatened is Emirates Team New Zealand, but a combination of typically intuitive tactical choices by Brazilians Torben Grael and Robert Scheidt, plus an untypical fluff in sail handling, saw helmsman Ed Baird take Luna Rossa through the finish 15 seconds ahead.

Optimism was the word from the Royal Yachting Association after the coalition government announcement that arts and sports spending faced an £83m cut. "Clearly, in such testing times, there is the need for all to take a good look at spending, but certainly the high performance sports community is ready to fight its corner," said a spokesman.