Sailing Federation frees Ainslie to chase fourth gold


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The Independent Online

Olympic champion Ben Ainslie was given the go-ahead for his bid for a fourth consecutive gold on the home waters of Weymouth in July/August – he also has a silver – as the sport’s world governing body, the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), said it would impose no further punishment for his disqualification from the world championship in December.

Ainslie was incensed by the actions of a television boat when bidding to win the worlds in the singlehanded Finn dinghy in Fremantle , Australia , in December.

He boarded the boat to remonstrate with the cameraman and driver.

An international jury disqualified him from that race, plus the second race of the day, and banned him from the medal decider.

A tribunal set up by the Royal Yachting Association said that no further punishment was necessary, the Australian authorities said it was a matter for the British and ISAF, and now ISAF has also said that the punishment handed out in Fremantle was enough.

In the Southern Ocean, the six boats on the fifth leg of the Volvo round the world race from Auckland to Itajai , Brazil , have taken a pounding in the first 48 hours of their dive south prior to rounding Cape Horn . Ian Walker brought the Abu Dhabi entry Azzam back to Auckland for repairs to the internal structure and was then delayed extra hours as 60-knot winds blew outside the Hauraki Gulf . He is racing again.

But the winner of the fourth leg from Sanya, China, Franck Cammas, has been told that his French insurance giant sponsor, Groupama, has announced that it is withdrawing completely from sailing at the end of the Volvo.

It had been expected that Groupama was planning to compete in at least two Volvo races, the next one being in 2014-15. The decision follows a similar announcement by French public services group Véolia that it, too, was pulling out of yacht racing. The company had been close to participating in the current Volvo.