Ainslie steps into the breach on a mixed day for GB sailors

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The Independent Online

It was Ben Ainslie to the rescue in Weymouth on Thursday when the triple gold medallist went to the aid of Argentinian 49er pairing Sebastian Peri-Brosa and Federico Villambrosa.

Racing in the Skandia Sail for Gold Olympic regatta in Weymouth/Portland, helmsman Peri-Brosa had been injured in a capsize just after the finish of his race.

He was rescued, rushed ashore and taken to hospital, leaving Villambrosa to sail the high-performance skiff back to the dock unaided.

Ainslie had completed his races in the singlehanded Finn so, as coach David Howlett was towing the boat ashore, Ainslie transferred from the rigid inflatable boat to the racing skiff and steered it home.

In the Finn class, Britain lies first, third, fifth and eighth, Giles Scott leading, Ed Wright third, Ainslie fifth and Andrew Mills eighth. Scott has replaced France’s Jonathan Lobert at the top, but has a lead of only one point. Less than five points cover third to fifth.

Ainslie’s tactician on Britain's America ’s Cup challenger Team Origin, Iain Percy and fellow-strategist Andrew Simpson have pulled themselves up to third in the Star fleet.

But the reigning gold medallists are 31 points behind the leaders, Peter O’Leary and Frithjof Kleen of Ireland and 27 behind Fredrik Loof and Johan Tillander of Sweden so, with just two races to run before the top 10 go into the medal race on Saturday, there is not much opportunity to shut down the gap.

Only Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes, ninth, are still in the top 10 of the women’s 470 dinghy. The British pairings of Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell, plus Nic Asher and Eliot Willis both had a good day and hold third and fourth overall, while a first and an eleventh left Bryony Shaw maintaining a fourth overall in the women’s windsurfers.