Emirates GBR has been handed a devastating blow in Christchurch after being docked 8 event points before the start of racing for colliding with Spain in practice.

Giles Scott’s team collided with Spain in the third practice race of the day after not realizing the Spanish had tacked back onto starboard. As the port tack boat, Emirates GBR had to keep clear of Diego Botin’s crew, which had the right of way.

An inspection by SailGP’s Tech Team after racing found damage to the two F50s, with Emirates GBR at fault. This means Emirates GBR starts Christchurch on -8 points and also results in a 4 point deduction from the team’s overall season score. Looking ahead, it's possible the incident may have ended the team’s chances of making it into San Francisco’s three-boat season showdown.

Season 4 // Crew inspects Emirates GBR F50 damage after collision with Spain in Christchurch

Reflecting on the incident, driver Giles Scott said the punishing conditions saw ‘all teams struggling on the boat handling side of things - it really was a day for no mistakes’.

Season 4 // Spanish crew inspects F50 damage after collision with Emirates GBR in Christchurch

He described the crash as a ‘proper clanger’, but said ‘it could have been a lot worse’.

“We’re licking wounds from that issue - it’s really, really frustrating but tomorrow’s a new day - we’ll come out swinging and see what the weekend’s got.”

It comes after Scott admitted the team was 'disappointed' with its ranking on the Season Championship leaderboard at Christchurch's pre-event press conference.

The ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch takes place on March 23-24, with racing from 15:00 NZDT.