Post mortem begins as Origin finish fifth overall

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The kings of British sailing are not dead. But a serious post mortem is already under way in Valencia after the wheels came off in the final two damage-hit days of the debut regatta for Team Origin and its brand new TP52 in the first of the 2010 Audi MedCup grand prix. Fifth overall was not part of the pre-match script.

The waters in the bay off Cascais again offered cracking conditions for the 11-boat fleet, including, alongside Origin, four more America’s Cup syndicates.

But, after a display earlier in the week of some very smart sailing from skipper and triple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie and double gold medallist tactician Iain Percy, Origin slid from leading the series to 5th overall with an exit trio of results which read 9th, 10th, and 7th. A shunt from Paul Cayard’s Artemis just after the start of the final race was the least of their problems.

Defending champions Emirates Team New Zealand won the Portugal Trophy with a frightening display of power and precision in racing conditions which were both exciting and challenging.

The Origin sailing team flies on Monday to La Maddalena, Sardinia, ahead of the Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta which starts this weekend as the shore crew moves into mod mode.

A ruling from the class manager, Rob Weiland, means that the swept back wings on the keel bulb of Origin will have to be removed at the training base in Valencia. That will lead to a whole new bulb configuration for a vital piece of the boat which is thought to have been damaged in Saturday’s 38-mile coastal race.

And the computers are working overtime in the design office of Juan Kouyoumdjian, who is also based in Valencia. The second Audi MedCup regatta is in Marseille mid-June, by which time any other teething problems will have to be tackled.