Ainslie to compete at Red Funnel

A look forward to this weekend's RORC regatta in the Solent

Monday March 17th 2008, Author: Trish Jenkins, Location: United Kingdom
In the yachting world there are few names bigger than Ben Ainslie and fresh from his record 5th triumph in the Finn Gold Cup in Australia, the double Olympic Gold medallist will be racing this Easter in the Red Funnel Easter Challenge on board the TP52 Henri Lloyd Cutting Edge.

The Solent springs to life this weekend for the first big regatta of the season; The Red Funnel Easter Challenge has attracted a large and diverse fleet of racing and cruising yachts and some of the finest sailing talent will be competing on tight Solent courses.

65 entries are now confirmed for the 17th Red Funnel Easter Challenge and the Royal Ocean Racing Club expect more to follow. The large fleet shows that the event has not lost any of its popularity with the competitors. There are over 20 different designers or brand of yachts which will make for some interesting comparisons, especially this being a Rolex Commodores’ Cup trial event.

The background of the competitors is just as varied with top professional and Olympic sailors rubbing shoulders with amateurs in the sport.

“The Solent is always a great venue for racing,” commented Ben Ainslie. “This regatta sees a lot of new teams coming together for the first time and getting back on the helm of a big boat will be a refreshing change for me. The Henri Lloyd Cutting Edge crew are a great bunch of guys who are full of enthusiasm and I am really looking forward to the experience.”

This year’s Red Funnel Easter Challenge looks set to be as competitive as ever and the on-the-water tuition also provides an ideal opportunity for owners and crew to sharpen up for the season ahead.

Jim Saltonstall will be leading the coaching team on the water and conducting the video debriefs after racing each day;

Jim sums up his thoughts for the Red Funnel Easter Challenge; “When it comes to sailing you never know everything. The process is continuous whatever level of sailing you participate in. I sincerely hope that everybody thoroughly enjoys the Red Funnel Easter Challenge. We are only on this planet once so it is important to enjoy every minute of it!”

Weather for the Solent is always difficult to predict but last year’s light airs looks unlikely. At present the conditions are forecast to give a wide variety of conditions, ideal for teams looking to test themselves and their equipment across a broad range of wind strengths. Seven races are scheduled, concentrating a lot of sailing time into just one weekend. Add to that, the world class coaching and the competitors have a recipe to learn a huge amount at the start of the season

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