Sailing silvers guaranteed

Two silver medals are guaranteed and two golds are beckoning thanks to one of Britain's most successful Olympic teams of this century, the sailors. They bagged five medals in 2000 and five more in 2004.

Ben Ainslie's closest rival, the American Zach Railey, gave up the chase yesterday to concentrate on pushing further down the pack his own rival for the silver medal in the Finn singlehander, Guillaume Florent of France.

Ainslie is the reigning gold medallist from Athens and is on track for a third Olympic gold in a row after winning silver at his first attempt, when he was a 19-year old, on the Savannah track of the Atlanta games in 1996.

Railey paid tribute, saying: "Ben is one of the best dinghy sailors ever."

The situation is much tighter for the Yngling trio of Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson, who have a single point lead over the only other crew which can beat them for gold, Mandy Mulder, Annemeike Bes and Merel Witteveen of The Netherlands.

Ainslie was in ice cold mood in the heat of the dockside at the £250m new sailing centre yesterday. "That's half a job," he said about having made sure of silver. "It's going to be a tough race tomorrow and even though I have a 12-point margin, you can never have enough.

"I think a top 10 medal race, which scores double points, notches up the pressure a bit more than for a world championship or a European championship," he added.

Wilson, at 22 the youngest member of the Team GB sailing squad, had all the composure of a veteran as she said of the gold medal decider on Saturday: "We're prepared for it to be a close race, and it's not like we haven't been in this position before. Tomorrow we have one thing to do and we know we can do it.

"There may be a few butterflies beforehand, but I think that's healthy. We want gold and will do everything to win gold."

Ayton's fiancé Nick Dempsey also had a smile on his face as he won his windsurfer race, the only one possible on a muggy day in which the wind was at best fitful, swinging in direction and blowing anything from two to 14 knots. That pushed the Athens bronze medallist up to third overall after five races. "I prefer a tactical contest to a fitness contest," he commented.

The women's boardsailor, Bryony Shaw, was disqualified for jumping the gun at the start, but this did not affect her fifth overall position.

Having a happier time was the Laser sailor Paul Goodison, the Rotherham man going joint top with Rasmus Myrgren of Sweden after winning his fourth race, but, in the Laser radial, a 22nd for Penny Clark sent her down to 10th out of 28.

The 2004 silver medallists in the 470 dinghy, Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield, had "a shocker of a day", their 20th pushing them down a place to fourth overall. But their counterparts in the women's division, Christina Bassadone and Sakia Clark scored an eighth and a third to lift themselves into the top ten at eighth with two more fleet races to go before the medal shoot-out. They are 18 points off the bronze medal position.

Taking to the water for the first time were the Star keelboats and the Tornado catamarans. All eyes at the Tornado start were focussed on the American boat on which Johnny Lovell and Charlie Ogletree were the only ones out of the 15 to opt for much bigger upwind sail that has to double as a downwind spinnaker.

It pulled them rapidly off the start line but then sent them crashing backwards in winds that were too strong for it to deliver real advantage.

They finished 14th as Britain's Leigh McMillan and Will Howden posted a sixth.

In the Stars, where there are six former world champions among the 16 entries, 2000 Finn gold medallist Iain Percy, who is one of the six, with crew Andrew Simpson, were seventh after losing valuable places - they were third at the last turning mark - on the final run. "We will be in serious mode all week," said Percy. "But we feel pretty confident going in."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'