Ainslie leaves rivals in his wake

Brilliant Ben Ainslie stormed back into the lead of his event yesterday, giving Britain two class leads at the half-way point. The trio of Shirley Robertson, Sarah Webb and Sarah Ayton are nine points ahead in their class, and though kept ashore because of strong winds, Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield continue to give the sailing team a grip on three gold medal positions.

Ainslie again revelled in the 25-knot Meltemi conditions in the bay south of Athens, producing a performance that any athlete in this gathering of the world's élite would be proud of, battling over two days from a daunting 19th to a dominant first.

Saturday had looked like a nightmare after Ainslie was disqualified from coming second in his second race. On Sunday the dream answer was two firsts as he let the world know there would be no surrender by one of the brightest hopes Britain had, pre-Games, of a gold medal to add to the one he won four years ago in Sydney and the silver he had to be content with at the tender age of 19 at the Atlanta Games.

Yesterday, the steel bit harder. Ainslie wants his rivals to know who is boss and the way he powered his Finn dinghy past some of the best sailors in the world downwind drew applause afloat. And ashore there was nothing but admiration. The 1984 gold medallist and three-times America's Cup winner Russell Coutts shook his head and whistled "He is pretty impressive", adding a few Kiwi adjectives. "He has a big edge downwind."

To ease the pressure a little more, the man who previously led the 25-boat fleet, the 1996 gold medallist Mateusz Kusnierewicz, of Poland, was also disqualified, for a premature start in the second race of the day. That left Ainslie, fourth in the first race, first in the second, with a one-point lead over second-placed Rafael Trujillo, of Spain, whose very consistent performance now becomes the main threat.

Kusnierewicz slips to third place, a further eight points adrift. He was lucky not to be further behind but the international jury, which administers protests, has been given video evidence that Ainslie was innocent of the accusation made against him by France's Guillaume Florent, leading to the disqualification. They will decide whether to reopen the case tonight.

That would have put the fear of all the Greek gods up the rest of his competitors. But, in the meantime, Ainslie remains locked away from the media circus, focusing on nothing else but winning, although he did admit that he was "pretty knackered" and that after six hard races "my body feels a bit of a wreck".

For Robertson, the golden day was the first when, in the Yngling, she banked a fourth and fifth in less favourable light airs. Since then, her strong, confident crew have come into their own, scoring two firsts, plus a third and a fourth yesterday. A bubbling Sarah Webb said: "We are pretty pleased with the day."

Those strong winds, gusting even higher the further south they went, were way above the limits which the race management team had set themselves as being reasonable. Broken boats, and possibly broken people, were just too much of a risk for the central command centre at the Agios Kosmas marina complex. No other classes, windsurfers, Europe and Laser singlehanders, 49ers and 470s were released from the boat park, so everything else has been delayed for a day and the two 470 classes, men and women, will try to catch up today, instead of being given a day off.

Both the Finn fleets and the Yngling women are given a breather before launching into the final five races of the series.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine