Weymouth and Portland International Regatta, Ben Ainslie discusses his road to the Olympics:
It has been almost two months since the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta ended back in June. In that time I have been focused on training down in the Weymouth and Portland Olympic Venue with my training partner Mark Andrews.
Portland has been pretty quiet and these are the hard yards when you're out on the water day after day with only two boats pushing each other along. Mark and David Howlett, my coach, have been great in getting the best out of the training and trying to keep the level up for the Pre Olympic Regatta which starts on the 6th August. It hasn't been totally relentless training as I have enjoyed a few different excursions on behalf of my sponsors.
Competing in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race (25 June) was great fun. The conditions for the race were full on and we suffered a casualty within the first 20 mins of the race, as we had to off load one extremely ill journalist into a support RIB http://tgr.ph/mjTkZV.
Rugby World Cup winner Will Greenwood was sailing on the boat and kept us all entertained with banter whilst also doing a pretty impressive job grinding the sails in and out. During the Race we suffered three blown out spinnakers which hampered our overall result. However, in the end I was just happy that we made it back to the dock safe with the same number of crew with which we started (well minus one!).
I also trained with the Harlequins 7’s rugby team, it was great fun and physically very challenging but hugely enjoyable, it was interesting to see the cross over in the training plans and look at some of their reaction training. The guys have made this week’s JPMorgan Premiership 7’s final (1900 Friday fifth Twickenham Stoop) and I hope they go onto win it.
Last week, I spent a bit of time with UPS, they control the logistics for the Olympic Test event based out of the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy. It's amazing when you hear the amount of items that have to be transported and setup to make the individual venues practical and fit for the Games. It's a huge job for UPS but they certainly seem up for the task and it was great to learn more about their business.
I’ve just come back from a short Team GBR 'Holding Camp' for the Pre Olympic sailing team. We hopped on a bus from Portland and went off for a two day break to help with team bonding, a bit of r and r and go through the plans for the Regatta itself.
The Pre Olympics is a crucial event for us all! It’s another step in the selection cycle for the Olympic team. A top result would tick another box on the selection committee’s criteria and make selection a possibility. As a competitor though you can't afford to be distracted by this, it’s a case of focusing on the normal routines and getting the best possible out of each day. I can't wait to get out there and get racing again.