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Storming start for Sir Ben Ainslie in Bermuda
7:50am Wednesday 9th October 2013 in Sport
SIR Ben Ainslie made a storming start on day one of the Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda.
The Lymington-based sailing legend is competing in the penultimate event on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, in what race pundits believe could turn into a clash of the Anglo-Saxon match racing titans.
In one corner is the GAC Pindar team of four time Tour winner and 2013 Tour leader, Ian Williams, from Southampton.
In the other is the high profile crew of the world’s most successful Olympic sailor, Ainslie, fresh from his turn-around America’s Cup win with Oracle Team USA in San Francisco.
Both crews ended the day unbeaten on four wins.
“It was great fun,” said Ainslie, who is competing to help raise funds for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, named after his lifelong friend Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson who died in a sailing accident earlier this year.
Among Ainslie’s crew is Southampton-born Iain Percy, who partnered Simpson to Olympic gold in 2008.
“We were a little bit rusty on the whole boat on boat situations and the starts,” Ainslie continued.
“We got a lot better through the day with the starts. But we made a few mistakes.
“Obviously we did a lot of this three or four years ago, so you remember quite quickly, but the guys we’re up against are really practicing hard on their time on distance and boat positioning and that is what is critical in the pre-starts.
“We have a little bit of catching up to do. Otherwise we liked the conditions - a bit shifty.
“And it was good with the guys - Iain did a great job on the tactics as always.”
While Ainslie beat Bjorn Hansen, Phil Robertson, Nicolai Sehested and local sailor Joshua Greenslade, Williams won against Chris Steele, Pierre Antoine Morvan, Will Tiller and his old foe Mathieu Richard.
Ainslie and Williams were racing in Group 2, the 20-strong fleet having been divided up into two groups of 10 for qualifying.
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