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Drama at Cowes as 40-foot catamaran overturns


Life turned upside down for John Pink when the 40-foot catamaran he was racing went head over heels at the Extreme Sailing Series off Cowes yesterday.

He and the crew of Aberdeen Asset Management survived without injury but abruptly ended racing not just for Pink but the whole fleet as two attempts to right the boat ended in failure.

Plan B was to send divers under the upturned hulls to cut away the mast, rigging and sails, and then tow the boat into the harbour to be craned out.

Having another good day was Ian Williams as the former world match racing champion scored a first a second and a third to push Team GAC Pindar up to third overall behind Italy’s Luna Rossa skippered by Max Sirena and The Wave Muscat, skippered by fellow Brit Leigh McMillan.

On a more conventional track, again made bumpy by winds gusting over 20 knots, Carphone Warehouse boss Charles Dunstone took the top trophy of the day, the Blossom Challenge Cup, in his TP52 Team Origin.

Ben Ainslie in Weymouth edged a three-point cushion over rival Jonathan Lobert of France with a third and a first in the Finn singlehander at the Olympic Games dress rehearsal and Iain Percy, with crew Andrew Simpson pushed back up to sixth overall courtesy of a fourth and a second in the Star.

In the windsurfers, Nick Dempsey shares the lead with Dorian van Rijsselberge of The Netherland and counterpart Bryony Shaw is just two pints off the bronze medal position in the women’s division.

Also fourth, and three points from the bronze position, are Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes in the high performance 49er dinghy.

The first selections for Britain’s 2012 Paralympic Games team are five sailors, John Robertson, Hannah Stodel, and Stephen Thomas in the Sonar, Alexandra Rickham and Nikki Birrell in the Skud 18, have been announced.