Richard Langdon / Skandia Team GBR

Ainslie's dilemma

Skandia Sail for Gold gets off to a good start

Monday August 9th 2010, Author: Lucy Harwood, Location: United Kingdom

It cannot have been an easy decision for the triple Olympic gold medalist, Ben Ainslie, to return to the Finn class at Skandia Sail for Gold 2010. Ainslie completely dominated the Finn, unbeaten between 2004 and 2008, winning gold medals at both the bookending Olympic regattas.

But right now, Ainslie has every excuse to lose; preoccupied with TeamOrigin campaigns in the TP52, the Louis Vuitton Trophy and the World Match Racing Tour, not to mention the little matter of being eight kilograms under his fighting weight. But an ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta at home, at the venue of the 2012 Games? How could he not compete? How could he not win? But how could he win, after so long out of the boat? Dilemma…

But Ainslie was taking it all in his stride this afternoon: “I really enjoyed it today, we had some great racing even though the conditions were pretty tough for me at my current weight. But I am pleased with how it went and pleased to be racing in the Finn again and to be back at Weymouth.

“It’s funny because this morning I was talking to my coach about my goals for the week, and we laughed because normally we wouldn’t worry, I just want to be at the top! It is a very different week for me, because it’s not about where I place, it’s about rejoining the Finn fleet, seeing how it has progressed and learning about the conditions in Weymouth.

“I don’t feel any pressure this week. I haven’t raced for two years. And I think that having been through so much at the Olympics it’s a different feeling. Of course, you want to do well for everyone who supports you, but the biggest pressure always comes from your own desire to succeed.

“There is a lot of good talent in the UK, and it will be tough to qualify. But hopefully that will make us push each other that much harder, so that if I do qualify I am in a much stronger place.”

And perhaps unsurprisingly, after a shaky first race, Ainslie was right back in the hunt for the second, and finished fourth for the day. Watch this space.

Things went less smoothly for his barely-less-gilded tactician at TeamOrigin, the double Olympic gold medalist, Iain Percy, and his crew, Andrew Simpson. They were also returning to the boat after a lay-off due to duties with TeamOrigin – although not such a long one, they are the reigning Star World Champions. But they broke a forestay before the first race, and had to come ashore to fix it, returning to the line two minutes after everyone else had started the second race - eventually finishing 21st. Simpson said afterwards: “Realistically you can’t predict a forestay break like we had today, there is just an element of bad luck involved in these things but it’s part of the game. But we went out there afterwards, we fought back and managed to take back 17 places.”

The Star fleet was dominated by two more America’s Cup sailors, Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk – the Kiwi duo won both races, an awesome performance in a fleet of this class. But elsewhere, things went better for Skandia Team GBR, with Nic Asher and Elliot Willis sharing the lead in the 470 Men with French duo Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos.

Other stand-out performances belong to Udo Hessels and Mischa Rossen in the Sonar class with two bullets, while in the 49er, Frenchmen Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis scored two seconds. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) scored a first and a second in the Finn class, while both Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Veronika Fenclova (CZE) won their two races in their respective Laser Radial fleets to be joint top.

Results – Top Five

470 Woman Results
1st Lecointre and Geron FRA 8 points
2nd Kondo and Tabata JPN 11 points
3rd Rol and Defrance FRA 15 points
4th Westerhof and Berkhout NED 19 points
5th Maxwell and Kinsolving USA 23 points

470 Men Results
1st Leboucher and Garos FRA 4 points
2nd Asher and Willis GBR 4 points
3rd Patience and Bithell GBR 8 points
4th Kambouridis and Polychronidid GRE 9 points
5th Biehl and McNay USA 11 points

49er Results
1st Dyen and Christidis FRA 6 points
2nd Outteridge and Jenson AUS 10 points
3rd Draper and Greenhalgh GBR 10 points
4th Burling and Tuke NZL 10 points
5th Phillips and Phillips AUS 15 points

Finn Results
1st Lobert FRA 3 points
2nd Le Breton FRA 11 points
3rd Gaspic CRO 15 points
4th Ainslie GBR 17 points
5th Karpak EST 17 points

Laser Results
1st Murdoch NZL 3 points
2nd De Haas NED 6 points
3rd Goodison GBR 6 points
4th Van Vianen NED 12 points
5th Brunning AUS 12 points

Laser Radial Results
1st Bouwmeester NED 2 points
2nd Fenclova CZE 2 points
3rd De Truckheim FRA 5 points
4th Clapcich ITA 6 points
5th Steyaert FRA 8 points

RS:X Men Results
1st Rodrigues POR 5 points
2nd Bontemps FRA 6 points
3rd Dempsey GBR 6 points
4th Heidegger ITA 6 points
5th Santos BRA 6 points

RS:X Women Results
1st Manchon ESP 4 points
2nd Charline FRA 6 points
3rd Tartaglini ITA 7 points
4th Shaw GBR 10 points
5th Hamilton GBR 11 points

Star results
1st Pepper and Monk NZL 2 points
2nd Florent and Rambeau FRA 5 points
3rd Polgar and Koy GER 8 points
4th Mendelblatt and Von Schwarz USA 12 points
5th Grael and Ferreira BRA 16 points

Women’s Match Racing – unbeaten to date
Macgregor, Lush and Macgregor GBR 3-0
Tunicliffe, Vandemer and Capozzi USA 3-0
Leroy, Riou and Bertrand FRA 4-0
Le Berre, Ponsor and Ponge FRA 3-0
Souter, Curtis and Price AUS 4-0
Kjellberg, Kallstrom and Harryson SWE 4-0
Lehtinen, Klemetz and Kanerva FIN 4-0
Spithill, Eastwell and Farrell AUS 4-0

2.4mR Results
1st Damien FRA 3 points
2nd Schmitter NED 3 points
3rd Kol NED 6 points
4th Bugg AUS 11 points
5th Tingley CAN 13 points

Skud-18 Results
1st Rickham and Birrell GBR 3 points
2nd Fitzgibbon and Cox AUS 3 points
3rd McRoberts and Hopkin CAN 6 points
4th Hovden and Millward GBR 8 points
5th Hall and Faulks GBR 10 points

Sonar Results
1st Hessels and Rossen NED 2 points
2nd Kroker and Prem GER 5 points
3rd Robertson and Stodel GBR 7 points
4th Wang-hansen and Kristiansen NOR 9 points
5th Cohen and Vexler ISR 10 points

Full results here

From Richard Langdon/Skandia Team GBR

From David Brannigan/


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