by Lindsey Bell
J.P. Asset Management Finn Gold Cup penultimate day in Falmouth (Thursday 17th May) has seen Ben Ainslie move within touching distance of an historic sixth Finn World Championship title after three race wins amid ‘unbelievable’ conditions.
Ben Ainslie in action on Thursday at the JPMorgan Asset Management Finn Gold Cup 2012 in Falmouth
With a 20 point margin over his Skandia Team GBR teammate Ed Wright in second, Ainslie has only to start and finish tomorrow’s double-points scoring medal race to lay his hands on the coveted Finn Gold Cup for the sixth time, and for it to stay British hands for the eighth time in 11 editions of the event.
Wright, the World Champion in 2010 and bronze medallist at the Perth 2011 event, can do no worse than a silver medal with a 34 point buffer between him and the third-placed Danish sailor Jonas Hoegh-Christensen.
Thursday’s three races were held among 25-30 knot winds and big waves, and proved a tough test with even the most experienced sailors capsizing in the physical conditions.
The 35-year-old Ainslie, sailing these Worlds in his home county, mastered what he described as ‘pretty extreme’ conditions to notch up three race wins and close in on the title.
'It was a great day. It was unbelievable sailing, some of the best I have ever experience at 25 to 30 knots of wind,' said the triple Olympic gold medallist Ainslie, who has the honour of running the first leg of the Olympic Torch Relay when it kicks off this Saturday morning in Land’s End.
'There were massive waves so it was a really good test for everyone and a great day's sailing.
'It was pretty extreme. It is not often we race in conditions like that so it was great.
'I think there will be a lot of tired sailors but I think most people had a smile on their face most of the time.'
Ed Wright in action on Thursday at the JPMorgan Asset Management Finn Gold Cup 2012 in Falmouth
The 34-year-old Wright paid tribute to his teammate’s form on a challenging day.
'Ben did have an amazing day – to get three bullets on a day like today is just phenomenal really, and he’s sailing great at the moment.'
'Today was probably the most crazy day’s sailing I’ve done – there were really, really enormous waves out there. It was really windy, and just built all day and it was just really exciting,' Wright continued.
'It was probably one of my favourite days. I wasn’t really sailing in control – it was quite a nice feeling!
Four Skandia Team GBR sailors will feature in Friday’s final medal race, with Mark Andrews and Andrew Mills also making the 10-boat cut in seventh and eighth respectively.
Elsewhere in World Championship action, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark secured two race wins to take the overall lead with two days to go at the 470 World Championships in Barcelona, while Team GB’s newest sailing recruit Alison Young is third overall after six races at the Laser Radial Worlds in Boltenhagen Germany, with Charlotte Dobson in eighth. The regatta concludes on Sunday 20 May.
Skandia Team GBR website