Team Origin struggle in Audi MedCup

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The Independent Online

Coastal races have not been happy hunting grounds for Britain's Team Origin in the 2010 Audi MedCup series and in the last of the four which have been staged this year, the story repeated itself.

In the Bay of Angels off Cagliari in the south of Sardinia Ben Ainslie and an impressive crew once again fell from grace, but they were not alone.

As the Argentinian yacht Matador continued its tour de force assault on the Trofeo della Sardegna, the defending champions, Emirates Team New Zealand, were also having a lacklustre day, posting a sixth, one place ahead of the British, in a race that scored points and a half.

Matador holds an 11-point lead over the Russian team Synergy. Origin, making its last appearance on the MedCup circuit, is a disappointing sixth.

Coming back from a busy night replacing a bowsprit, broken in the crash with Spain's Bribon on Wednesday, the Franco-German team on All4One took fourth. The 2008 titleholders, Quantum, were second, consolidating there place as second overall in 2010, but ETNZ still has a 45-point margin with four races to go. The chances of Origin challenging for a 2010 third place have slipped as the in-form Matador enjoys a 20-point cushion.

"We had a bad race," said Origin skipper Ben Ainslie. "Things didn't fall into place and we didn't sail well. But we felt we improved through the season, but that hasn't helped as much as it would have done if the next America's Cup was in monohulls."

Under the World Sailing Teams Association umbrella, representatives of some potential America's Cup challengers, including Britain's Team Origin, were thrashing out a way forward, not least the choice of two members for the America's Cup Race Management board of five, which is thought to be meeting for the first time in Paris next week.

The board should be chaired by the new race director, Iain Murray, and also includes a BMW-Oracle appointee as the defender and a fifth from the Italian Challenger of record, Mascalzone Latino.

Of at least equal importance is how the challengers make the Competitor Forum work for them, but that was said not to be on the agenda, and the recently published protocol for the next Cup in 2013 will dominate the opening ACRM board meeting.