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Ainslie happy with solid start to his Olympic defence
2:31pm Sunday 29th July 2012 in Sailing News
The 35-year-old is the undoubted star of Great Britain's sailing team and the bookies' favourite to top the Finn class podium.
He finished the day with two second places behind Denmark's Jonas Hogh-Christensen, who he joked had the spirit of countryman Paul Elvstrom behind him - a man Ainslie would overtake as the most decorated Olympic sailor ever should he win gold.
''It was a good day,'' he said. ''They were tough conditions out there, especially on the Nothe Course in the first race.
''There was very, very shifty winds but it was a good start. It was ok, but there is a long way to go.
''I think Jonas was on a hotline to Paul Elvstrom today.
''He sailed fantastically well so all credit to him and we'll see how things develop for the rest of the week.''
Thousands congregated in the Nothe Gardens to watch the racing on what was the first occasion ticketed spectators have been able to watch sailing at the Games.
Home supporters, though, had hearts in their mouth early on as favourite Ainslie rounded the first mark of the opening race outside the top 10, before producing a superb downwind leg to rise up the fleet.
''I needed to show how to do it downwind in the first race as I didn't have such a great first leg,'' he said.
''I had to get my work rate up downwind and pull through and thankfully I managed to do that.
''It was very, very difficult conditions. When you're racing that close to the shoreline and the wind is unstable it is very, very hard.
''It is very difficult to predict the wind so I didn't quite get it right but I was close enough to the leaders to pull back.''
The opening races both finished with the same top three of Croatia's Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic then Ainslie in second and Hogh-Christensen.
The Dane was pleased with his performance but keen to stress this it is only the beginning of the regatta.
''It was a great day, but Ben and Ivan are close behind and we're very early in the regatta,'' Hogh-Christensen said.
''I need to keep cool, take it one day at a time and focus on tomorrow.
''I got the shifts right, got a good couple of starts and it was a great day. There was great weather and a great crowd as well so it was good fun.''
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