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America's Cup: Key Emirates Team NZ crew returns to Australia injured

'Emirates Team NZ in training AC45 Training San Francisco (USA)'    Guilain Grenier Oracle Team USA©    Click Here to view large photo

Key Emirates Team New Zealand crew member, Glen Ashby, has left the team in San Francisco to recuperate after he injured some ribs in a capsize in San Francisco.

The team is building up to the second round of the America's Cup World Series in San Francisco - and were on a longer build-up after their disappointing showing in the first round a month ago.

The capsize occurred last Wednesday, local time, and Ashby passed through New Zealand on Sunday en route to Australia.

Ashby, a multiple world champion in A-Class catamarans and Olympic Silver medalist is a key crew member aboard the team's AC45 and recently launched AC72. Formerly a coat for Oracle Racing in the 2010 America's Cup win, Ashby is the trimmer for the wingsail aboard both boats.

The Australian national visited the Sail-World stand at the Auckland On the Water Boat Show, and outwardly, Ashby's injuries appeared to be minor. Few medical practitioners would recommend an AC45 regatta as part of the recovery from such injuries, and Ashby is destined for a quiet period of recuperation at home before returning for the AC72 testing and sailing in Auckland.

He has been replaced on the AC45 by Adam Beashel, who flew from Auckland and has already trained with the team.

The capsize occurred on the second day of training for the team, and although damaged, the team's only AC45 was sailing again the following day. No announcement or statement has been made by the team

Writing in his daily blog for www.kiwiyachting.co.nz Barker commented: 'To say we have had very disjointed preparation for these last few events would be an understatement. Going back to Naples in April we have had at least one injury in each event requiring a crew substitution. Although we have depth in our sailing team, it is still difficult to come in cold when we are racing teams that have been together since August in 2011.

'We are back out today to keep pushing on with our development for this event. The sailing conditions are great and the racing is fantastic. Just more challenging than it needs to be at times.'

Barker also revealed that he suffered a rib injury in the last America's Cup World Series which had been uncomfortable during the regatta in which New Zealand performed very poorly, by their standards and expectations.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Oracle Team USA launched and sailed their AC72 for the third time, apparently with a full set of foils. The session is believed to have passed without incident.


by Richard Gladwell

  

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11:09 AM Sun 30 Sep 2012GMT


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