Read how the event panned out and listen to Ainslie talking to Matthew Sheahan
Ben Ainslie is the King of the Finn World yet again after clinching a historic fifth World Championship crown in Australia.
Ainslie held a one-point advantage over Kiwi and long-time friend Dan Slater going into the double points Finn Gold Cup medal race at Black Rock Yacht Club, Port Phillip, having edged his nose in front of the pack for the first time on the penultimate day.
And a second place in the medal race behind Skandia Team GBR teammate Ed Wright, combined with a fifth place for Slater, saw 30-year-old Ainslie add an unprecedented fifth World success to the Gold Cups he won in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.
Ainslie said: “It’s a fantastic feeling. It’s been a tough week but we had great conditions for the medal race and I was pleased to get that right and do what I needed to do. Now I’m looking forward to working hard over the next six months to get ready for Beijing.”
In what has been a relentless week for the sailors, the medal race turned out to be arguably the most fairly contested, a constant 15-knot sou’westerly propelling the fleet around the two-round windward-leeward course.
Wright fired off the best start, closely-trailed by Ainslie and Swede Johan Tillander around the first mark. Pieter Jan Postma, third heading into the medal race, was disqualified for an over-zealous start.
With second enough for Ainslie to win the title, overall victory never really looked in doubt despite Slater moving up to fifth.
And as he swept down the final wave over the finish line, Macclesfield-born Ainslie could once again celebrate being the undisputed best sailor ever to grace the Finn Gold Cup.
Ainslie will now have his sights firmly set on completing a 2008 World and Olympic double as he defends the Finn title he won at Athens 2004 in Beijing in August. If he is successful it will be his third Olympic gold in total, his first coming in the Laser class at Sydney 2000.
He added: “It was very hard at the beginning of the week but as the week went on, I realised more and more what I needed to do to get to the top of the fleet.
“Having that point advantage going into the medal race did help me I think. It must have been very hard for Dan (Slater) as he was leading all week and had sailed a great series but I managed to progressively grind down his lead and managed to continue that into the medal race. I have completed the job I came Down Under to do and now I can start preparing for China.”
In a double fillip for Skandia Team GBR, hot prospect Giles Scott was crowned 2008 Finn Junior World Champion having led the contest since day one.
With Scott finishing 14th overall, an astonishing 133 points better off than silver medallist Piotr Kula (POL), Ainslie had some encouraging words for the 20-year-old pretender to his throne.
“Giles has sailed really well here and he is a star of the future for sure,” he said. “He thought he could have done better which is a good sign of how good he’s going to be. The results of the British Finn team in general here shows this is a good squad to be in.”
2008 Finn Gold Cup, Black Rock Yacht Club, British results:
1st Ben Ainslie
7th Ed Wright
14th Giles Scott
18th Ed Grieg
27th Andrew Mills
31st Mark Andrews
45th Henry Bagnell
79th Edward Thorburn