Ben Ainslie wins Allianz Cup and fellow British sailor Williams retains world match racing tour lead 30/10/06

The immensely talented British sailor Ben Ainslie became the fifth first-time winner on the World Match Racing Tour when he won the Allianz Cup Presented by Oracle.

The 29-year-old Ainslie, a helmsman for Emirates Team New Zealand, defeated Ed Baird of Alinghi, 3-1, to win his first World Tour event. Ainslie’s crew included James Dagg, Terry Hutchinson, Jeremy Lomas and Tony Rae. They finished with a 14-5 record and won $25,000 of the $100,000 purse.

Commenting Ainslie said: “It was a tough day, really windy and shifty, plus the tide, our team did a good job dealing with all the conditions. The first start we didn’t have a great one to be honest, the next three we nailed them. Terry did a great job nailing the shifts.”

Baird sailed with Mike Drummond, Nils Frei, Craig Satterthwaite and Piet Van Nieuwenhuyzen. They finished with a 13-5 record and won $15,000.

“I didn’t do a good job on the line,” said Baird. “Compared to the rest of the week I wasn’t as strong off the starts at all. That was the difference. You let him start ahead of you and it’s really hard to pass, especially on this type of racecourse.”

In the Petite Final Jesper Bank defeated Ian Williams, 2-0, to place third. Williams finished fourth in the event, but it was good enough to keep him in the lead of the Match Racing World Championship standings. Williams leads Baird by 7 points.

“Our goal coming into the event was to be leading the tour going out, so we’re please with that,” said Williams. “That’ll be our goal at the Monsoon Cup, to come out that still leading the Toru and if we can put in another top four result that should be ok.”

The World Match Racing Tour resumes next month with Stage 6, the Monsoon Cup in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, 29 November 29-3 December.