Ainslie sits out final day

Decisive victor in Finn Europeans

Wednesday June 11th 2003, Author: Sasha Oswald, Location: Scandinavia
The Finn European Championships concluded today (June 11) but there was no sight of Team GBR sailor Ben Ainslie on the start line of the final race. This was because Ainslie had already successfully defended his European title with a day to spare and had no need to sail the final race.

'Team Volvo for life' sailor and Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie led the event from start to finish and although the points were close during the first half of the championship, he eventually pulled out a nineteen-point lead over the 1996 Olympic gold medallist Mateusz Kusznierewicz of Poland and finished thirty-two points in front the 1996 Olympic silver medallist Sebastien Godefroid of Belgium, who finished in third place overall.

In varied conditions that ranged from no wind to 22 knots, Ainslie scored nothing worse than an eighth place and included three first places in his score line. On the penultimate day, Ainslie sailed a perfect day crossing the line first in both races, which was enough to see him win the European championships for a second consecutive year.

Ainslie said, "I am really happy with how I sailed and it is good to be so consistent during this event. It is obviously particularly pleasing to have won with a day to spare as all the top guys are competing," he continued, "the big event is now the world championships in Cadiz this September which is the first opportunity to qualify for the Olympics."

Teammate Andrew Simpson improved as the event went on, finishing the final race of the championship with a fourth place, which put him in seventh place overall.

RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park commented, "It was another strong showing from Ben Ainslie who was able to win the regatta with a race to spare. It was also pleasing to see a good finish from Andrew Simpson who now seems to be improving with every event."

Final results (8 races, 1 discard)
1, Ben Ainslie, GBR (3,1,5,3,8,1,1,(DNS)) 22 pts
2, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, POL (6,2,4,4,6,5,14,(DNS)) 41 pts
3, Sebastien Godefroid, BEL (1,3,10,(BFD),7,9,19,5) 54 pts
Other GBR
7, Andrew Simpson (15,17,9,(37),12,7,9,4) 73 pts
14, Dave Mellor (11,8,(57),23,29,12,13,12) 108 pts
25, Chris Brittle (26,13,42,20,(49),25,18,22) 166 pts
28, Charlie Cumbley (28,32,(37),16,28,27,25,29) 185 pts
37, Adam Cowling (32,35,(54),43,31,37,43,18) 239 pts
39, Matthew Howard (38,40,27,(51),38,34,39,38) 254 pts
45, Ed Greig (Junior) 43,48,50,34,(55),28,44,34) 281 pts

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