Sailing: Dazzling Ainslie turns on the style

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The Independent Online
Sailing

STUART ALEXANDER

reports from Miami

With an almost nonchalant elegance, the brightest young talent on the British sailing scene, the 18-year-old Ben Ainslie, continues to dazzle the opposition at the Olympic Classes Regatta here.

Every time he has the chance to ease back or sees his dominance threatened, Ainslie bangs in another set of results that leaves his opponents wondering what they have to do to stop him in his tracks. Yesterday, he scored a first and a fourth. In three races on the first day, he had a first and a second before slipping down to a 12th.

That was because he incurred a penalty for a foul on the start line. The double circle, 720- degree turn left him at the back of the 65-boat division, something which would have floored most people. Instead, he was able to fight back and show why people respect so much the timing of his run to the big one at Savannah in July.

Also boosting his reputation in the 10 to 12-knot south-easterly yesterday was the Soling representative Andy Beadsworth. The three-times national match-racing champion has sometimes been a rather cautious competitor on the start line.

Yesterday, in a fleet so stuffed with talent that anyone would be glad of a single figure result, and watched by coach Eddie Warden Owen, he took the fight to the opposition, found a peach of a position in the middle of the line and pulled away to score a third, behind France's Marc Bouet and Magnus Holmberg of Sweden.

In the same course, the five British contenders for the one remaining place in the 1996 Games team, the Star class, again collectively looked a little short of pace, but it was Glyn Charles' turn to close the gap on the current leader, Lawrie Smith, as he came home in ninth position.

The Olympic gold and silver medallist Mark Reynolds, plus Ross Macdonald, John Kostecki, Peter Bromby and Vince Brun may have been ahead of him, but Jose-Luis Doreste, Paul Cayard, Colin Beashel and Robbie Haines were behind.

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