Yachting: Did Luna Rossa hit a dolphin?

You've heard of catching a crab in rowing? Well, this could be catching a dolphin in America's Cup sailing.

On their solo race today Luna Rossa came almost to a shuddering halt after their rudder hit something. Whatever it was - they didn't see it - was big enough to break the rudder. These pictures show the yacht slowing down suddenly downwind - the collision happened upwind and this shows the catamaran when it lost its rudder wirth the strain of foiling after the collision upwind.

The suspicion is that it was a dolphin - a school was playing somewhere near the Italian boat at the time. But there's a lot of big fish in the Bay - halibut, sturgeon, bass and salmon all abound and some of the sturgeon in particular get bigger than most - a 13-footer was caught in recent times.

To stop a 72-foot catamaran in racing mode, with a top speed attained on the day of not quite 40 knots (though they were tacking so going much slower than that), we are talking BIG. Maybe a seven-gilled or mako shark, a big ray, or a dolphin.

The Italians told reporters their rudder smelled of fish when they returned to dock. The two-metre rudders are sharp and probably sliced the fish or dolphin in half - which tells you what they might do to a human.

- Herald on Sunday

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