Britain’s Ben Ainslie showed his class on the water River today, rising to the top of the leaderboard to win the round robin stage of the regatta
Triple-Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie won five straight races today, turning a fifth place at the end of day one (with a 3 – 2 scoreline) into first place (with a scoreline of 7 – 2). He shares the top score with local skipper Torvar Mirsky, but takes the top spot on a tie-break.
Talking about his improved form Ainslie said: “that was a bit cleaner today, we had a little bit of rust yesterday, the guys were a bit tired having just flown in from Europe, but we felt a bit better today, and got things slightly smoother I think.”
Winning the round robin brings with it the privilege of choosing his quarter-finals opponent, and he has selected South African Ian Ainslie who finished fourth on the leaderboard.
One of the big areas of improvement for Ben today was in his starting, generally getting off the line in control. He commented: “it is difficult, because it’s so shifty, and with such a tight starting box, it really all happens in the last 30 seconds, but we pretty much got what we wanted in most of the starts.
“I guess they weren’t all perfect, they never normally are in match racing, but we ended up having control in most of the starts, and half way up the beat, but really on this course it’s so shifty it’s more about good speed, getting the shifts and good crew work when things are shifting around so quickly.”
It was Western Australian skipper Torvar Mirsky who defeated Ben Ainslie in the final of this event last year, so a repeat of this match in the final could still be possible.
Conditions on the Swan River’s Perth Water were very tough again today, with the seabreeze piping in at 15 to 20 knots, which on such a tight course is a real test of skill, fitness and agility.
Results at the end of Round Robin:
1. B. Ainslie (GBR) 7 – 2
2 T. Mirsky (AUS) 7 – 2
3. I Williams (GBR) 6 – 3
4. I. Ainslie (RSA) 5 – 4
5. K. Swinton (AUS) 5 – 4
6. M. Richard (FRA) 5 – 4
7. P. Robertson (NZL) 5 – 4
8. W. Tiller (NZL) 3 – 6
9. P. Nicholas (AUS) 2 – 7
10. R. Corbett (NZL) 0 – 9
Quarter Final Pairs
B. Ainslie (GBR) v. I. Ainslie (RSA)
M. Richard (FRA) v. P. Robertson (NZL)
T. Mirsky (AUS) v. W. Tiller (NZL)
I. Williams (GBR) v. K. Swinton (AUS)