Ben Ainslie, who is back in the Finn, finished the first day in fourth place

Triple Olympic Gold medalist, Ben Ainslie, returned to the Finn class at Skandia Sail for Gold 2010 yesterday. Ainslie completely dominated the Finn, unbeaten between 2004 and 2008, winning gold medals at both the bookending Olympic regattas.

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But right now, Ainslie is preoccupied with Team Origin 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?

Ainslie was taking it all in his stride yesterday, commenting: “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.” 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.

Ben added: “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.

”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.”

Things went less smoothly for his barely-less-gilded tactician at Team Origin, 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 Team Origin – 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 scored a first and a second in the Finn class, while both Marit Bouwmeester and Veronika Fenclova 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

For all the day’s results, CLICK HERE.