Saturday, 19 March 2011

Ben Ainslie Can't Wait to get out Racing in Palma

Ben Ainslie sailing his Finn. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.

by Ben Ainslie

I write this from Palma, where I have been based since finishing the Miami Regatta at the end of January. I’ve spent nearly all my time on the water with training partner Mark Andrews and coach David (Sid) Howlett.

My main focus has been on my fitness but there have been some interesting developments arising from our kit testing. There was a good range of conditions meaning I was able to sail pretty much every day, this enabled us to really test different hulls, masts and sails. When it comes to sail design we use a lot of photographic work and a computer programme which works out things around sail shape, depths and twists in different conditions and circumstances. The Argentine sail designer Juan Garay was in Miami with us and since then he has been working back at home on fine-tuning the sails we are now testing.

I’m slowly getting my weight up for the Finn and although you could always be a bit heavier, I’m not too far off where I want to be now. My sailing fitness is also improving with all the time I’m spending in the boat. As we get closer to the Palma regatta in April my focus will switch more to racing again.

I did manage to get a few days back the UK, where I attended the launch of a new photographic exhibition celebrating the 80th anniversary of the J.P Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race in London. The event brought together a host of past race winners and legends, I’ve done the Round the Island Race a few times but never won, it was great to speak to many past winners! Hearing their stories makes you realise what a hard race it is to win. It’s a great showpiece for sailing and it is a unique opportunity for so many people to get involved. The bulk of people sailing aren’t there to try to win anything they are just out enjoying the day and the fact the race is as long as it is (50 miles) gives them the chance to really settle down and properly work out how the boat is being sailed and the technicalities behind making the boat sail faster and more efficiently.

Ben Ainslie. Image copyright Richard Langdon.

I also completed a photo shoot for a yet to be announced new sponsor, it’s always a strange experience to complete these shoots, especially when I’m hiking my Finn suspended in the middle of a studio with wind machines and camera’s flashing. However, it was great fun and I’m looking forward to seeing the results.

Next up is the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma (2-9 April) which is part of the ISAF World Cup, I will have done a lot of training by then so I can’t wait to get out racing.

Next Events

ISAF Sailing World Cup Event: Princess Sofia Palma Regatta 02 - 09 April 2010

ISAF Sailing World Cup Event: Hyeres Olympic sailing week 23 - 29 April 2010

About Ben Ainslie CBE

Ben Ainslie is Britain's most successful Olympic sailor, in total he has won three gold medals and one silver.

Ben won his first Olympic medal at just 19 years old - silver in the Laser class at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Four years later, he achieved every athlete's dream of Olympic gold on Sydney Harbour. For the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Ben switched to the larger Finn dinghy he again won Olympic gold. In August 2008 Ben proved his was still the best by winning his third straight Olympic gold medal.

Ben's sailing achievements are unprecedented not only is he a triple Olympic gold medallist, he is also a nine times World champion, eight times European Champion and three times ISAF world sailor of the year. Ben's next aspiration is to qualify for and bring back a historic fourth gold in the london 2012 olympics.

Ben is also the current 2010 ISAF World Match Racing Champion

Ben Ainslie