A short-lived bubble of euphoria for Britain’s Team Origin was emphatically burst by defending champions Emirates Team New Zealand in the 38-mile coastal race of the Audi MedCup in the bay off Cascais today.
The Kiwis revelled in a 22-knot northerly breeze, shrugging off the early challenge and even brief lead of quadruple Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie and his star-studded Origin crew to put at least one hand on the Trofeu de Portugal and lay down a marker for the five-regatta series of up to a total of 50 races ending in Sardinia in September.
With perhaps two final races tomorrow for the 11 TP52s, Origin could easily make a podium, despite the additional disappointment of finishing ninth and being beaten over the line by Tim Powell and crew in Cristabella. Origin is fourth overall, just half a point behind Paul Cayard in Artemis and one point behind Jochen Schuemann, second in the Franco-German All 4 One. The Kiwis, after a wobble on the opening day, are in control.
The British team will now take the boat back to its base in Valencia for modifications, including the removal of wings on the keel bulb, while the sailors move on to La Maddalena, Sardinia, for the next Louis Vuitton Trophy of match races in America’s Cup boats.
Mike Sanderson celebrates debut win with Stuart Alexander