Ben Ainslie diary


Our Olympic Laser Gold talks of racing Skandia Life Leopard, One World and what he's up to at the moment
Skandia Life Cowes Week was a great opportunity to do some decent racing in the UK and catch up with old friends. My previous experience of the regatta was about five years ago, when I sailed on a mixture of boats from the newly-launched Rogers design Sticky Fingers, to crewing for David Oddie on his X boat. This year I was sailing aboard the slightly larger Leopard, a Reichel Pugh 92, and the not quite so big IC45 Serano. But I was still amazed by the amount of boats that manage to fit into the Medina river and how well the event is organised. It is positive for sailing to see Cowes Week getting so much media coverage, although I sometimes wish that our Olympic hopefuls could receive the same support. Not one paper talked about the fact that Paul Goodison finished fourth at the Laser Worlds - a fantastic result considering he didn't finish two races. But I thoroughly enjoyed the sailing and the strong breeze made life more exciting. We had some good racing on Serano, although it was hard work trying to keep up with the big Swans in the breeze. The IC45s are having their One Ton Cup in Pwllheli next month and with eight entries there should be some tight racing. Sailing on board Leopard was a great feeling. The owner, Mike Slade, is great at keeping the team happy while still pushing hard to win. Leopard is not quite as powered up as an IACC boat, but it is larger. The main issues of sailing a boat like this were finding space on the start line and dealing with the fact that tacking takes about one minute, due to the shifting of the water ballast. Although Leopard was in Class 0 it did not take long before she

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