Origin crashes to first defeat

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Friday the 13th came a day early for the star-studded talent in Britain’s America’s Cup team as Origin crashed to its first defeat of the Louis Vuitton Trophy series today. Triple gold and silver Olympic medallist skipper Ben Ainslie was as much the architect of his own demise as his opponent, the American Terry Hutchinson.

Hutchinson, runner up when defending his Audi MedCup crown this year, is at the helm of the Swedish entry Artemis and has five Americans, eight Kiwis, two Australians, a Dutchman and a Swede in a crew that is littered with America’s cup talent including Paul Cayard as strategist.

But Origin, with eight Brits in the 17, just mistimed its run to the start line and was never able to make up the deficit.

Syndicate boss Sir Keith Mills is due in Nice tomorrow and will be hoping that a reversal in fortunes will be achieved when Origin lines up against the only remaining unbeaten crew in the eight-boat, two-week regatta, Emirates Team New Zealand.

They were due to meet yesterday, but, once again, the breeze was only in full working order in the morning and by mid-afternoon had joined many others in the town for a siesta.

But there was no lack of breeze – 15 to 30 knots - in the Atlantic where Seb Josse and Jean-Francois Cuzon gave up a slender lead on their Open 60 BT to Marc Guillemot and Charles Caudrelier-Benac’s Safran in the Transat Jacques Vabre doublehander from Le Havre to Costa Rica.

Mike Golding and Javier Sanso, despite dicky electronics and back-up pilot, edged up to third, neck and neck with Roland Jourdain and Jen-Luc Nelias on Veolia while Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson after replacing a mast-top sensor on Aviva, have just a five-mile margin over Alex Thomson and Ross Daniel’s Hugo Boss in sixth and seventh.

Surprising has been the performance of defending champion Michel Desjoyeux, 12th with Jeremie Beyou on Foncia and one place behind Sam Davies and Sidney Gavignet on Artemis, this one based jointly in Scotland and Cowes. Both boats said they had ignored the advice of their weather routers and paid the price.