GBR Finn, 470 and Radial sailors ready for Worlds action
Ainslie among three GBR Olympic crews in World Championship action this week
Three of Britain’s London-bound sailing crews will be racing for World Championship honours this week, including triple Olympic Champion Ben Ainslie who will be chasing a record-breaking sixth Finn world title on his home waters at Falmouth.
Ainslie will be part of the 94-sailor, 30-nation line-up at the JPMorgan Asset Management Finn Gold Cup which kicks off on Sunday (13 May) at the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club.
Although Skandia Team GBR’s reigning World Champion Giles Scott won’t be present in Falmouth to defend his crown due to conflicting America’s Cup commitments, Ainslie will aim to be the one to keep the coveted Gold Cup in British hands for the third successive year.
Ed Wright won the world title in 2010, and Scott was crowned champion at the Perth 2011 Worlds with Ainslie controversially missing out on the medal spots after his well-reported disqualification following an altercation with a press boat.
The 35-year-old – unveiled on Thursday as the first UK torchbearer in the Olympic Torch Relay – is looking forward to the opportunity to re-capture the Finn world title, although he admits it will be a tough challenge. The final six country qualification spots for the Olympic Games up for grabs at this Gold Cup so competition will be fiercer than ever.
“For me it’s great to be sailing back in Cornwall where I grew up. I’ve never really raced here so I am learning a lot. It will be tough and I’ll have to raise my game a little bit,” he said.
“It will be easier without Giles there, though it’s still incredibly tough out there to win these races.”Ainslie’s fellow Skandia Team GBR sailors Ed Wright, Andrew Mills and Mark Andrews will also feature at the Gold Cup in Falmouth, where the final medal races are scheduled for Friday 18 May.
Meanwhile, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark will be in the hunt for a second consecutive Worlds podium finish when the Women’s 470 World Championships get underway in Barcelona on Sunday.
The London-bound duo earned a hard-fought silver medal at the Perth Worlds in December, and will line-up at Barcelona’s 1992 Olympic sailing venue with 53 other crews including Skandia Team GBR’s Sophie Weguelin-Sophie Ainsworth, Joanna Freeman-Katie Tomsett and Anna Burnett-Flora Stewart. The final medal race is scheduled for Saturday 19 May.
The men’s 470 Worlds, being held concurrently, will see no British boats in contention, with Team GB representatives Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell focussing instead on training at the Games venue in Weymouth and Portland with the Skandia Team GBR men’s squad.
Alison Young will head to the Laser Radial World Championships in Boltenhagen, Germany, with a spring in her step after being named this week as the GBR Radial representative at the Olympic Games.
The 24-year-old was the top-placed British sailor at the Perth Worlds where she finished seventh, and will look for another solid showing at this week’s event, where Charlotte Dobson and Chloe Young will also fly the Skandia Team GBR flag.
Racing at the Laser Radial Worlds gets underway on Tuesday (15 May) and concludes on Sunday (20 May).
Follow the Finn Gold Cup at www.falmouthfinnfestival.com
Follow 470 World Championships at http://worlds.470.org
Follow the Laser Radial Worlds at www.laserworldchampionship.com
For the latest news and information on the British Sailing Team, visit www.skandiateamgbr.com or follow us on Twitter (@skandiateamgbr)