Russell Coutts and James Spithill were involved in a collision at yesterday's King Edward VII Gold Cup's Pro Am Regatta in Bermuda

The Investors Guaranty King Edward VII Gold Cup’s Pro Am Regatta was cut short on the water as high winds tested the fleet of seeded skippers sailing with guest crews of celebrities and sponsors yesterday. After one major t-bone crash between boats skippered by America’s Cup skippers Russell Coutts (NZ) and James Spithill (AUS), and fellow Australian Peter Gilmour’s boat was dismasted, race officer Charles Tatem called it a day after just one race. The competitors and their celebrity crews then concluded two more races by rolling dice and pacing off the totals around the 50ft course.

The day began with Russell Coutts and Investors Guaranty Team 1 which included British PGA Golfer Nick Faldo, His Excellency the Governor of Bermuda Sir John Vereker, and Doug King the CEO of Investors Guaranty was in collision with James Spithill’s Team Algorithmics during the pre-race warm-up. Coutts was sailing upwind on port tack when his jib trimmer and spotter ducked below for a moment to make a halyard adjustment and lost sight of Spithill’s approach.

No one was looking out from Spithill’s boat either, and their bows drove up onto Coutts’ foredeck, breaking the starboard mast shroud. Coutts and company saved the rest of the rig and switched to a spare boat for racing.

With the westerly wind at 20-25 knots the boats raced without spinnakers but it was still very demanding. Mathieu Richard’s Team Rennaissance Reinsurance came 1st, Bjorn Hansen’s Team Bermuda Tourism came 2nd, and Ed Baird’s Team Cicada came 3rd. Peter Gilmour’s Team Virtual Spectator broke their mast on the second beat and had to be towed back to the marina.

Repair crews will have a busy night getting boats back in order for Friday’s Investors Guaranty presentation of the King Edward VII Gold Cup, the third stop on the Swedish Match Tour this season.

Investors Guaranty presented $1000 to the Bermuda Paralympic Association to support their efforts to build a paralympic sailing team for future Olympic competition. Competition for another $1000 in prize money continued under the regatta tent with two dice races. Team Renaissance Reinsurance and Mathieu Richard won the first dice race and tied with Ed Baird’s Team Cicada in the second. Richard was awarded $875 and Baird $125 for their skill on the water and their luck at dice.

Baird, the top ranked match racer in the world, faces Dutch sailor Klaartje Zuiderbaan, winner of the Cicada International Women’s Match Racing Championship, in the top bracket of the quarter-finals of the King Edward VII Gold Cup. Second ranked Richard faces Russell Coutts in the bottom bracket.