Key Points:

Organisers of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series had their worst fears realised on the opening day of the regatta when both Team New Zealand boats were damaged in the final race of the day between Greek Challenge and Alinghi.

The damage occurred when the newly formed Greek team made contact with Alinghi in the pre-start, with the bow of NZL 84 ploughing into the stern of NZL 92.

The collision resulted in a chunk being taken out of both yachts, and the likelihood of a long night in the boatshed for Team New Zealand shore crew charged with repairing the damage.

Team NZ chief operating officer Kevin Shoebridge was confident they could get the boats fixed overnight and ready for today's racing.

With an ambitious schedule of more than 50 races to be squeezed into two weeks, having any of the four boats out of action would be catastrophic to the event.

The teams were warned before the regatta started that any crew responsible for damaging the boats would cop a hefty penalty and it was no surprise that Greek Challenge were deducted a point.

It was a nightmare introduction to the world of America's Cup class racing for the Greek team, who were sailing in their first race at this level. They went on to lose the race to Alinghi by over two minutes.

Before the start of the day's racing Kiwi Gavin Brady, helmsman of Greek Challenge, almost predicted the event.

The Greek team arrived in Auckland with just two weeks of training under their belt - their first experience on Cup class yachts.

When asked if he had reservations about sailing with such an inexperienced team, Brady admitted he was little concerned at first.

"You don't want to be famous as the guy who broke the boat during the Louis Vuitton series," he said.

"You know, imagine the trimmer was inexperienced and he pulled the wrong rope and we lost control of the bow and ploughed into the side of Alinghi and sank them."

It didn't quite happen that way, but his vision was pretty close.

Brady said the incident occurred in the pre-start when his crew tacked behind Alinghi causing an overlap with the boats. Then, as they went to go across Alinghi's stern, Greek Challenge had a problem with their mainsheet and they momentarily lost control and hit Alinghi's stern.

"It's one of those situations where it was a standard move, but we lost control of the boat for a few seconds and that was long enough to cause a problem," said Brady.

Skipper and team principal, Sotiris Buseas, created the team with the vision of having an all-Greek team competing at the next America's Cup.

With no professional sailors in Greece, Brady was brought in to the team to mentor and develop the young Greek sailors.

FIRST ROUND

Pool A


* K-Challenge (France) bt China team by 1m 02s
* Emirates Team New Zealand bt Italia Challenge by 19s
* BMWOracle (US) bye

Pool B

* Team Origin (Britain) bt Luna Rossa (Italy) by 1m 05s
* Alinghi (Switzerland) bt Greek Challenge by 2m 02s
* Team Shosholoza (South Africa) bye

TODAY'S RACES

Pool A


* BMWOracle v Team New Zealand
* China Team v Damiani Italia

Pool B

* Team Shosholoza v Greek Challenge
* Luna Rossa v Alinghi