Sailing: Ainslie's great day out

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The Independent Online

The solent offered only a gentle workout for the nearly 900 yachts in Cowes Week yesterday, but at least there was racing for all classes and, despite some apprehension about being able to combine top performance with top hospitality, Ben Ainslie delivered both a good day out and the day's top trophy, the RYS Trophy, wearing the Volvo colours he is carrying for the week.

The Olympic gold medallist and world champion managed to coax his Swan 70, tacking the guests strategically from side to side, around a 29.4-mile course that took the big boats almost all the way to Portsmouth, where the wind, mainly in the eight to 10 knot range, freshened up to the low teens.

Going uphill, that is where the boat came into its own and was able to overtake, and leave behind, his nearest rival, Jeremy Robinson steering Nick Hewson's Farr 52, Team Tonic.

The only unbeaten boat of the week so far, with three bullets, is the Scottish-based Sonata, So, which Neil McLure and Keith Stewart of Dunfermline sailed to second in the national championship in Dundee.