ASHER and WILLIS, who started the day in overall second position, collided with Aussie team Mat BELCHER and Nick BEHRENS in race 8, and have slipped to sixth with WILLIS carted off to hospital for precautionary chest x-rays.
WILLIS, 24, was knocked off his trapeze after he and ASHER, on starboard, bore away fearing the Australians would not attempt to avoid a collision.
"We thought they weren't going to get out of the way so we tried to … they bore away hard and hit me off the wire," WILLIS said.
"We capsized and we hit them hard enough to take their shroud out … it was pretty bad," he added.
While WILLIS was the only one injured, BELCHER and BEHRENS capped off an horrendous day on the water, unable to complete race 8 due to major boat damage sustained in the collision, which backed up an OCS is race 7, leaving them flailing at the tail end of the gold fleet.
The Aussie crew sustained a broken mast, shroud and severely bent boom.
"We were trying to cross them on port and bore away to go behind - they did the same so basically we were bow to bow," a disappointed BELCHER said.
BELCHERS coach Erik STIBBE noted, "that as long as the back up mast will do the job, they are experienced enough to deal with it."
At the pointy end of the fleet were racing was much cleaner, Gideon KLIGER and Udi GAL (ISR) relished the tougher conditions and winds up to 22 knots, to elevate themselves from 11th to third place overall with a win and third in today two races.
The Israeli crew finished third at the past two World Championships and are not prepared to settle for anything less this time.
"We are aiming at not finishing any worse than third this week," GAL said.
Avoiding all of the carnage, Athens silver medallists and Beijing hopefuls Nick ROGERS and Joe GLANFIELD (GBR), have slipped under the radar and into overall first place on 30 points after a steady fourth and ninth place finish today.
Points are tight at the top of the leader board. Day three regatta leaders Gabrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI (ITA) fell off the pace today in the heavier going. The lightweight Italians struggled across the line in 22nd and 15th place to slide into outright seventh position on 35 points.
Jam packed in the middle of ROGERS and GLANFIELD and ZANDONA and TRANI is Onan BARREIROS and Aaron SARMIENTO (ESP) on 31 points, KLIGER and GAL and Alvaro MARINHO and Miguel NUNES (POR), both one point further adrift.
Australian's Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE have moved up the table from 17th to 12th overall following an eighth and fourth today.
Dutch World Champions Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT moved into outright first position today following two outstanding victories in 12-22 knot winds.
"It was amusing out there … we like the breeze, everyone knows that," DE KONING said onshore.
However she was careful not to be over confident adding, "We are in the worlds, and points are so close, so every race counts and you can go up then down very easily."
Giulia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL (ITA) slipped to outright second, two points behind the Dutch crew on 25 points.
Asia Pacific Regatta winners Erin MAXWELL and Isabelle KINSOLVING (USA) have moved up from seventh to third on 29 points, with Australians Elise RECHICHI and Tessa PARKINSON losing two places on the fleet today.
The slightly built Aussie girls finished 14th and 19th respectively and in fifth position on 39 points.
The finals series continues tomorrow with another two races, scheduled to begin at 13:00.
Results - click here
470 World Championships - www.sailmelbourne.com.au/event/470worldchampionships2008