Sailing: Cayard sets collision course with Mary

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Life got a little rough out on the Pacific as Paul Cayard, steering Stars & Stripes, and Leslie Egnot in Mighty Mary came together on a collision course at the top of the first leg. Egnot was forced to take avoiding action, during which the spinnaker pole broke, bowman Susie Nairn took a crack on the head, and Joan Touchette injured her neck.

Cayard said he thought he had been doing what was right, and if he should have been penalised for altering course and hunting down the opposition, there were plenty of times when he had been denied a call he thought he deserved. "It was a rough day out there and I'm sorry if anyone got hurt," he said. "But they are big races and there is no point in pulling any punches."

Mighty Mary carried a spare spinnaker pole, a precaution clearly justified on a day when without it, the America3 team could have lost the race. In fact they went on to win, which put the three syndicates in the defender series final level on three points each, with six races to go.

The big seas were not to Stars & Stripes' liking, and when the wind rose above 12 knots she was doubly uncomfortable while Mary, with a modified rudder and a new elliptical trim-tab to the keel fin, romped along. Even so, all three defence syndicates look vulnerable, more concerned with not losing than with imposing themselves in the defence berth.

In the Louis Vuitton Cup, Team New Zealand came back from their only defeat in San Diego to go 4-1 up in the best-of-nine final, as Rod Davis crossed the line too early at the start, had to go back, and conceded a 32-second lead.

CITIZEN CUP Final; Race 6: Mighty Mary bt Stars & Stripes, 41sec. Standings: 1= Pact '95, America3, Team Dennis Conner, 3pts.

LOUIS VUITTON CUP Final; Race 5 (best of nine): Team New Zealand bt oneAustralia, 3min 54sec. Standings: 1 TNZ, 4pts; 2 oneAustralia, 1.