Equal on points and beaten only by the tie-break, Ben Ainslie ended a hectic week in San Francisco in second place of the fleet racing at the America’s Cup World Series.
The five times Olympic medallist came back from a pre-start penalty in the high-scoring finale, struggled in the seventh to 10th spots in the early part of the race, and then moved up strongly to fourth in the latter stages.
That was enough to see Ainslie, working for the same America’s Cup defender but racing under his own Ben Ainslie Racing colours, tied on points with colleague Jimmy Spithill, who was second to Oracle Racing colleague Russell Coutts in a race staged in a fresh breeze close to the shore. But the results of the final race decided the top spot.
Spithill, who was skipper when Oracle lifted the America’s Cup from the Swiss in Valencia in 2010, had earlier beaten Ainslie in the semi-finals of the parallel match racing event before going on to win that competition and so secure, for second time this year, the double.
The consolation of $10,000 in prize money when securing third place in the Argo Bermuda Gold Cup may have softened semi-final defeat for Ian Williams’ Team GAC Pindar at the hands of Sweden’s Johnie Berntsson.
Williams went down 0-3 in such light and flukey conditions that the competition had to be called off overnight when he was 0-2 down but he was able go on to beat France’s Eric Monnin 2-1 in the third-place playoff as Berntsson took his own dose of defeat in the final against the St. Thomas, West Indies-based Taylor Canfield.
Williams goes on to race in the Extreme Sailing Series in Nice, France. The crunch clash to decide his bid for a fourth World Match Racing Tour title will not be in December in Malaysia.
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