On fire and threatening, Ben Ainslie’s BAR team went into the clubhouse leading the pack at the end of the first day of racing in the Extreme Sailing Series regatta in Cardiff. Consistency including a pair of back-to-back wins over the tight courses in Cardiff Bay, gave Ainslie an eight-point lead over SAP.
In a programme of nine races, the British team broke the usual domination of Switzerland’s Alinghi, skippered by Morgan Larson and lying third, and the defending champion, The Wave, Muscat, fourth with British Olympian Leigh McMillan on the helm and double British Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ayton contributing to the tactics.
The day after knowing that another green light had been turned on for his America’s Cup ambitions, Ainslie has a slight shuffle in the crew, Paul Campbell-James moving over from Team Russia to replace Paul Goodison as tactician.
Another America’s Cup challenger, Franck Cammas, had to limp back to the dock after being t-boned by GAC Pindar, sailed by Nathan Wilmot in the colours of the retired AC challenger Team Australia. The repair crew was facing long hours of work to fix the boat for the second day on Saturday.