Ben’s making a name for himself…

Ben Ainslie found himself having to apologise to SoftBank Team Japan at the end of the first day of racing in the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda on Saturday.

After being described by a journaliist at the post race conference as being “known as one of the most aggressive, if not the most aggressive sailor in the world,” Ben was asked for his reaction to the collision between LandroverBAR and Softbank Team Japan.

With a faint smile on his face at the jounalist’s description of him, Ben responded by saying there was a left shift just before the start, which made it very difficult for BAR to lay the pin end of the line.

Ben said Dean Barker, the SoftBank helmsman, got the overlap at the start and BAR “got too high on the foil” which meant the boat slid sideways onto SoftBank.

“I saw a big black ugly hull coming at us,” said Dean Barker, “it proceeded to land on the  hull…”

Both boats suffered damage, in BAR’s case a hole big enough to sink the boat meant Ben and the crew had to keep the boat on foils all the way round the course and into the harbour.

The BAR shore team was obviousy going to have to work overtime to get the boat out again on Sunday…

Overall, I’m afraid Larry Ellison’s USA defender took two wins out of two races, which doesn’t bode well for the series at present. But I’m sure we’ll see many changes before this series is over.

Round Robin 1 finished with the USA leading with two wins. Sweden, New Zealand, Great Britain and Japan have a win apiece, while France has two losses. And Ben, by the way, also has a penalty for the Softbank collision.

But there’s a long way to go yet…

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