LYMINGTON’S Ben Ainslie hopes what he described as a “terrible” second day of the Olympic regatta at Weymouth and Portland will fire him up for the rest of the week.
The three-time Olympic champion sits third overall in the Finn class after four races, 11 points behind overall leader Jonas Hogh-Christensen (Denmark), after posting scores of six and 12 from his two races yesterday.
He said: “It was a difficult day. For whatever reason, I wasn’t finding the wind or reading the wind very well. I don’t think I went the right way once all day so that was pretty frustrating. That’s a challenge to overcome and hopefully I can get my act together for the rest of the week. I’m not very happy with that at all. I had a terrible day. I really didn’t perform and hopefully it will fire me up for the rest of the week.”
Ainslie, who picked up two seconds on Monday, enjoyed a clean start in race one and managed to once again capitalise on good pace downwind to punch his way clear of the pack, working his way through to fourth at the halfway point. But with Dane Hogh-Christensen once again revelling in the shifting conditions, Ainslie lost ground upwind, rounding the fifth mark in sixth then crossing the line in the same position.
The Brit was handed a massive boost at the start of race two when Hogh-Christensen got stuck on the pin end boat, forcing him to do two penalty turns.
However, the delay to his start actually ended up playing into the Dane’s hands as he was able to get a clear view of which side of the course was paying off and headed straight in that direction. When Ainslie, who had gone out to the left-hand side, saw his rival head right he immediately changed direction to temper Hogh-Christensen’s progress.
But although the move initially helped the 35-year-old Brit, he couldn’t find an answer to the Dane’s exceptional turn of pace throughout the rest of the race and trailed across the line in 12th, while Hogh-Christensen consolidated his overall lead with a seventh. Jonathan Lobert (France) sits second overall after a fourth and second today.
Ainslie had been keen to play down hype before the regatta that the gold was simply his to lose and he makes no bones that he will up his game if he is to claim his record-breaking fourth Olympic crown.
He added: “Hopefully, it will begin to get a lot better. It goes without saying it will have to go a lot better otherwise I’ll be a very unhappy man. I certainly have to sail a lot better than that for the rest of the week. It’s a number of very small things – there is a very fine line between success and failure at this level so I will certainly have to raise my game for the coming races.”
The Finn class is scheduled to resume at 12pm today with both of their races (race five and six) scheduled to take place on the Weymouth Bay South.