Ainslie apologises for damage to New Zealand
America’s Cup challengers Emirates Team New Zealand and Land Rover BAR suffered damage to their racing yachts after colliding during practice in the Great Sound yesterday.
The incident occurred during the pre-start of their match race when Land Rover BAR “ran straight into the back” of Team New Zealand, creating a “pretty good” dent on the inside of the Kiwis’ port hull.
Land Rover BAR’s yacht, skippered by team principal Sir Ben Ainslie, suffered minor damage to its starboard bow, the latest setback to the British team who collided with a floating dock near their base in Dockyard in March.
“It was a bit of a shame in the last pre-start we had the leeward end of the line pretty locked down,” Peter Burling, the Team New Zealand helmsman, said. “Ben was quite late and just ran straight into the back of us. Just unnecessary a week out from the America’s Cup. We are all here to learn and it’s a shame we have a pretty big metre dent now in the back of our nice boat.
“It went straight in under the media pod with his windward bow and right down the inside of the leeward hull, so there is a pretty good dent there. You can definitely see it has punctured right into the cockpit right around where my steering wheel is.”
Grant Dalton, the Team New Zealand chief executive, added: “We know Ben well; he is a good guy, but frustration is obviously getting to him and the red mist came down. It’s a lot of damage in a time we can’t afford it.”
Ainslie apologised for the mishap on Twitter, the social-media network. “Bit of a love tap racing hard with @EmiratesTeamNZ,” he tweeted. “sorry guys and hope you’re back on the water soon #AmericasCup.
“1/2 Today, during a pre-start @LandRoverBAR bore away behind @EmiratesTeamNZ & clipped their hull, sustaining limited damage to our bow.”
It remains unclear when or if both teams will take any further part in the latest series of practice races.
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