Sir Ben Ainslie's Kiwi connection plays down growing America's Cup aggression
Great Britain's Kiwi connection has played down the aggression levels in the America's Cup buildup in the wake of their ramming Team New Zealand.
Jono McBeth defended the America's Cup with Team New Zealand in 2000 and was part of the unsuccessful 2003 and 2007 campaigns before shifting to Oracle for double Cup triumph's there.
The big grinder then joined his good mate Ben Ainslie at the British syndicate, taking on the role of sailing team manager with the new outfit while still having a role on the boat.
Ainslie continues to be in the spotlight after crashing into Team New Zealand during a pre-start manoeuvre in a practice race on Wednesday that seriously damaged the Kiwi boat.
Aotearoa is still being repaired and isn't expected to sail again until Sunday, meaning valuable sailing time has been lost as the May 27 start to official rapidly looms.
Asked about aggression coming into play as the buildup intensifies, McBeth backed away from that.
"I don't think it's aggression that necessarily is the best description of what we're seeing out there on the race course at the moment," McBeth said in an interview with Americascup.com.
"I think what we've got here is a collective group of the best helmsmen and the best crews in the world in yachting. These are are all incredibly competitive people and when you stick them on a racecourse they're all there to win.
"I think what we are going to have this time and what you always have is just people that are pushing the limits, whether in the pre-start or out on the racecourse ... manoeuvres, close crosses ... it's just going to be what you have to do sometimes to try and win a race."
McBeth believed that would add to the entertainment.
"It's going to be exciting and I think that's the really cool thing about what we are going to be looking at over the next few weeks. It's certainly going to be an exciting regatta that is why people are going to want to watch it because we do have the best helmsmen out their and that's what they do, they love to push."
McBeth felt his team were improving despite speed concerns and that there was still plenty of development left in their boat.
Ainslie's brain explosion has bemused the British sailing media.
Andy Rice, in a podcats with Yachting World magazine, felt there was an element of panic in Ainslie's work on the wheel.
Rice was interested in the word "issue" being repeated over the British onboard communications as the situation quickly evolved.
"Maybe it was a moment of panic and it was the first word that came to mind," Rice said.
"It was a miscue, a mis-timing. It's really unusual for Ben Ainslie to do that though, because Ben Ainslie is really good at threading the needle, judging distances and judging small gaps and this was a massive misjudgment.
"It was Ben going for a gap that wasn't there."
Rice suggested with Ainslie's lack of speed on the course, he needed to be aggressive in the prestarts to try to gain an early advantage.
He didn't see anything sinister in the collision though. "I don't believe in the conspiracy theories," he said.