Extreme effort by Olympic stars

Sir Ben Ainslie, middle, with fellow Extreme Sailing Series crew members Nick Hutton, Pippa Wilson, Paul Goodison and Matt Cornwell.

Sir Ben Ainslie, middle, with fellow Extreme Sailing Series crew members Nick Hutton, Pippa Wilson, Paul Goodison and Matt Cornwell.

First published in Sport

HAMPSHIRE sailing stars Ben Ainslie, Paul Goodison and Pippa Wilson will draw on their Olympic gold-medal winning experiences as they attempt to win the latest round of the Extreme Sailing Series.

The trio will summon up memories their epic individual wins on the waters of Qingdao, China, in 2008 as they return as a team under the Ben Ainslie Racing banner.

The team, led by Lymington’s four-time gold medallist Ainslie, are ninth after two of the tour’s eight stages.

But the 37-year-old, the world’s most successful Olympic sailor ever, plans on making the most of the countless hours the threesome spent on the waters of Qingdao during the Games.

“We are all really looking forward to China,” he said.

“For Paul, Pippa and I who spent a lot of time there before and during Beijing 2008 it’s a special place for us.

“But we know that it is another difficult venue and there’s a lot of tide there so that could be challenging and tough but we certainly want to work on our performance as a team.”

Goodison, who won gold in the Laser fleet in 2008, added: “Qingdao is a special place for us and I have some great memories of training and racing here so it's nice to be back competing in China. “But it is a testing racing venue with difficult sailing conditions.

“Despite the boat failure on our last day in Oman we were racing really well. It was all coming together and there are a lot of positives to from our last event.

“We are now feeling more prepared and looking forward our next event in the series.”

Southampton’s Leigh McMillan, the reigning tour champion, has bolstered his expert crew on The Wave, Muscat, by hiring America’s Cup winner Kyle Langford.

Langford, 24, is the second member of winners Team USA crew to join McMillan’s squad after New Zealander Kinley Fowler was unveiled as one of the new members at the start of the season.

McMillan’s team top the leaderboard after finishing second in the season opener and winning on their home waters of Muscat, Oman.

Racing begins today and runs until Sunday.

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