Please select your home edition
Edition
Suntouched 2018 RYA Dinghy Show

Finns at London 2012 - Day 5: Masterful Ainslie ready for winner takes all

by RYA 3 Aug 2012 18:34 BST 3 August 2012

Ben Ainslie produced a tactical masterclass to put himself within striking distance of a record breaking fourth Olympic gold medal at the London 2012 Sailing Regatta at Weymouth and Portland today (Friday 3 August).

Ainslie goes into Sunday's double points' medal race two points behind current leader, Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN), knowing that to win that medal he has to beat the Dane and finish in the top seven boats.

Even if Ainslie finishes seventh and Hogh-Christensen is eighth, leaving them both on 42 points, the Brit will win gold as he finished in the highest position in that final medal race. Dutchman Pieter-Jan Postma, currently third overall, could still claim gold if he wins the medal race, putting him on 44 points, and Ainslie and Hogh-Christensen finish in positions that give them a total of 44 points or more.

Ainslie scored a sixth and a first place today to leave the medal race as a thrilling winner takes all showdown.

Ainslie said: "It was another tough day to be honest, it was quite breezy again. The first race was not good at all. Halfway through I was in a lot of trouble so [I was pleased] to pull things out of the bag down that final downwind leg and catch up very close to Jonas. I then managed to get it together for the final race.

"I have to say after the first six races I was starting to get a bit concerned but I'm really pleased I have managed to drag this back. It's going to be incredibly tough, Jonas is a fantastic sailor and is sailing really well so it's going to be a huge battle on Sunday but I'm up for it and I enjoy those occasions.

"I've done a lot of work with my training partners on the Nothe medal course so I will be analysing the notes and things that we learnt racing on that course. I might even speak to a couple of them and get the mind ready for what will be a huge battle."

To give himself the best chance of gold going into the medal race, Ainslie went into the last two races of their series – races nine and 10 – today knowing that he had to try to stay ahead of the Dane.

But things didn't go to plan from the outset as he rounded mark one in 11th in the first race, with Hogh-Christensen seven places ahead of him. He eventually managed to reel the Dane in with Ainslie finishing sixth in the race and Hogh-Christensen fifth, extending the Dane's overall lead to four points.

But Ainslie was back to his masterful best in race two, taking on the fleet from the start, getting himself into the lead and then, in an immaculate execution of race understanding and tactics, slowed down to enable Hogh-Christensen and Postma in the two chasing boats to catch him.

It was Ainslie's intention to put an additional place between himself and Hogh-Christensen. By giving Hogh-Christensen dirty air, enabling the Dutchman to overtake Hogh-Christensen, Ainslie ensured that the gap going into the medal race was just two points. The plan worked to perfection leaving Ainslie and Hogh-Christensen effectively neck and neck with all at stake as they head into Sunday.

Ainslie added: "It was pretty crucial with the Dutch sailor overtaking Jonas and to get that point in between, which puts us equal going into the medal race so it's whoever beats who. There was an opportunity for me maybe to try and block Jonas's air but in that situation I couldn't afford to give up too much ground in case things went wrong on the run and he over took me. Thankfully the Dutch guy PJ did his job.

"I'm a little bit frustrated that it has taken me to the final race for me to find the turbo button but it was important for me to get that final race right and get those points back. Now it's a good position to be in and it's going to be a fascinating race to be in on Sunday with it all to play for."

The Finn medal race is scheduled for 2pm on Sunday (5 August) on the spectator Nothe course. The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August.

www.rya.org.uk/london2012

Full results can be found on the ISAF London 2012 Results Centre

Related Articles

Australian Sailing Team at Kiel Week day 2
Waterhouse/Darmanin maintain lead as Outteridges hit their straps Australia's top Nacra 17 and 470M crews are set for gold fleet racing after consolidating their Day 1 efforts at the Kiel Week regatta in Germany. Posted today at 4:11 am
Kieler Woche day 6
Sunshine one moment, rain the next, no wind, too much wind... Sunshine one moment, rain the next, no wind, too much wind. It was a wild whacky day at Kieler Woche which suited some more than others.... Posted on 21 Jun
NZ Finn Winter Championship at Waiuku Boating Club
Club offers some of the most challenging and diabolical windshifts known to finnkind Defying the usually reliable Auckland weather forecasts eight sailors made the trek out west from Pukekohe to the spiritual home of Auckland Finn sailors - Waiuku Boating Club for what was to be a sunny, warm predominantly light air regatta. Posted on 21 Jun
Kieler Woche day 5
Three Bullets shoot Aussies into an early Nacra lead With Kieler Woche the last big event for the Olympic classes before the World Championships in Denmark six weeks from now, international stars are out in force to test themselves on Kiel Bay. Posted on 21 Jun
Olympic gold medallist back in Australian colours
Australia's sailing stocks are set for a major boost Australia's sailing stocks are set for a major boost with brother and sister duo Nathan and Haylee Outteridge returning to Olympic class competition in the Nacra 17 at the Kiel Week regatta in Germany, starting tonight (AEST). Posted on 20 Jun
Finn Masters 2018 at Keyhaven
Feisty, fun and frothy! The word on the street is that Finn Sailors love a good blow and that is exactly what was served up at Keyhaven YC this weekend for the Finn Masters 2018. Posted on 18 Jun
New Finn Class rules in force from June 11
Several important changes ahead of Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifications The timing of these changes was planned so that they come into force after the end of the World Cup Series, but before the serious part of the season begins, including the first stage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifications in Aarhus, Denmark, in August. Posted on 11 Jun
2018 World Cup Series Final Marseille overall
Curtain closes on 2018 World Cup Series Philipp Buhl (GER), Emma Plasschaert (BEL), Jorge Zarif (BRA), Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) and Great Britain's Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre were crowned 2018 World Cup Series Champions as the curtain closed on the Marseille Final. Posted on 11 Jun
Mills and McIntyre defend title
At World Cup Series final in Marseille Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre won the World Cup Series final for the second year running on Sunday as Elliot Hanson continued his run of success since returning from injury with a bronze. Posted on 10 Jun
2018 World Cup Series Final Marseille day 5
Italy, France and Israel claim first World Cup titles Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti (ITA), Pierre Le Coq (FRA) and Noga Geller (ISR) were crowned 2018 World Cup Champions after three Medal Races in Marseille, France. Posted on 10 Jun