Team New Zealand off to a flyer in the Audi MedCup

It took Emirates Team New Zealand an opening race to clear its throat and then the defending champions of the Audi MedCup series were in full harmony to finish second in the second race and solo supremacy to win the third.

On the opening day of the last of the five regattas which make up the series they returned to the dock holding 54.5-point lead over their nearest rivals, the 2008 champions from America, Quantum. Back-to-back titles will be hard to throw away.

Britain's Team Origin, which has been using the series as part of its America's Cup preparations, managed a seventh and two fourths after skipper Ben Ainslie flew from a crunch meeting over the whole future of the team.

His only problem was to sleep over in Milan before taking an early morning flight to Sardinia. The team chief and principle backer, Sir Keith Mills, has to consider whether to start pouring money into the development of a 72-foot wing sail catamaran while still seeking major outside sponsorship of a campaign which could easily swallow up €100m. over the next three years.

Ainslie and his talented crew, including fellow Olympic gold medallists Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, could still grab a podium slot for the 2010 MedCup season, which finishes on Saturday.

He trails Quantum, which has announced that it is to build a new boat for next season, by16.5 points, a bridgeable gap. "We battled hard today," said Percy. "but things didn't fall our way. We can still finish in the top three. But a lot will depend on the coastal race, which counts 1.5 points and where we have often struggled. But we are due a good one."

Quantum is skippered by Terry Hutchinson but he, in theory, would leave the circuit to join the Swedish team Artemis and concentrate on its own America's Cup challenge. He is, however, yet another top sailor who is waiting to see exactly which way the dice will fall, despite the presence in Cagliari of fellow American Ed Baird in full Quantum gear.

Ashore, both the organisers and the sponsors of the MedCup insist that the doom-mongers are being led by the nose and promise a statement later this week.

Listen: Stuart Alexander talks to series organiser Nacho Postigo:





Right-click here and click "Save target/link as..." to download



Alongside their deliberations, a posse of America's Cup challenge team representatives, including Grant Simmer, ceo of Team Origin, is due to fly in for a meeting on Thursday which will consider, among other things, how to fill the two places which the challengers can nominate for the America's Cup Race Management board.

Britain is believed to favour people like the immediate past chief executive of the Royal Yachting Association, Rod Carr, and New Zealand lawyer Jim Farmer. But there are those who favour candidates who are entirely independent from any national or team affiliations.

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015