Giles Scott: 'Ainslie's achievements inspired me – now we're rivals for a Games berth'

My road to 2012: Sailor must beat his one-time hero Ben Ainslie to claim the sole Finn class spot next year

Sailing for Britain beyond the shadow of Ben Ainslie's achievements is a difficult task. It is even harder for Giles Scott, who was just 13 years old when Ainslie won his first gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. But Scott now finds himself in direct competition with the man he describes as a "hero-like figure". He beat Ainslie at the Miami World Cup regatta in the Finn class last month, and will surely have to do so again to qualify for the Olympics; Britain can select only one sailor to compete in each Olympic class, and so Scott is in direct competition with Ainslie for a single berth.

Not that he sees it as anything personal, though. When asked if he is motivated by the prospect of taking down the famous Ainslie, Scott respectfully insisted otherwise. "I'm not sure I am motivated by knocking Ben off his perch. I am more motivated by qualifying for the Games and then being successful there. My sights aren't set on Ainslie, they're set on the Olympics." But, with Ainslie victorious in the Finn class in the past two Olympics, it might be difficult to separate the two tasks. To compete in Weymouth next year he will have to get past the current champion, which, if it came to it, "would feel pretty good, strange" said Scott, "but that's what I'm trying to do".

To compete against Ainslie at all will be strange for someone who has looked up to the three-time gold medallist through his career. "Yes, I am close to Ben," Scott acknowledged, "so competing with him would be quite odd. He has been doing it for so, so long, he won his first [gold] medal when I was 12 or 13. He was very distant, a hero-like figure when I first started racing, but now he's become a friend and a competitor. His achievements have inspired me."

Scott's respect for Ainslie is such that he went to the sailing in Qingdao three years ago to cheer him on, as qualifying for the Games appeared beyond him at the time. "It was never on the cards for me, really, as I was still at university. I got out to Qingdao as a cheering partner, and I went for a month in build-up training with Ben, but it was never going to happen."

Part of Scott's maturing as a sailor has been his elevation from Laser to Finn class. This was a transition Scott made at a much younger age than Ainslie. Despite it bringing him into direct competition with his mentor, he does not regret the switch. "I haven't looked back since I moved."

Should Scott qualify, he anticipates a home advantage based on knowledge of the conditions rather than a partisan crowd. "Home advantage is still there, but in a different way. You're depending on what you know about your surroundings, so you can get advantage from sailing in a venue you've trained in for 10 years. It does have its advantages. It's how the wind comes around, it's certain land features. You know what to expect a little bit more, you've seen it all before."

With the sailing out in Weymouth, it might be possible that the sailors would feel separated from the Olympic spirit. But Scott is confident of a "big Olympic feeling" throughout the year, even from the sailing base in Weymouth. "I can't imagine feeling otherwise."

Giles Scott is sponsored by investment specialist Skandia and sails as part of Skandia Team GBR, Britain's sailing team in the Olympic and Paralympic classes. For more information go to www.skandiateamgbr.com

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments