AN OLYMPIC sailor from Emsworth has told of his pride after watching Sir Ben Ainslie and his team excel at the America’s Cup World Series.
Peter McCoy, 24, has just returned from a two-week training camp in Rio ahead of this year’s Olympic Games.
He spent Saturday at the Race Village, on Southsea Common, cheering on Sir Ben and his team, Land Rover BAR, as they romped to victory in two of the opening three races.
‘The city has been amazing. The atmosphere has been incredible here,’ Peter said.
‘Portsmouth is doing a lot to promote the sport. There must be about 25,000 people here. It’s amazing to see so many people.’
His comments came after the second grinder challenge.
The contest saw elite sailors from the America’s Cup team attempting to wind a winch to a set limit in the fastest time possible.
Storming to victory was Land Rover BAR’s Nick Hutton, who clinched a time of 10.24sec.
He was closely followed by Artemis Racing’s Luke Parkinson, who notched up a time of 10.30sec.
Other times were: Guy Endean, Emirates Team New Zealand – 10.37sec; Joey Newton, Oracle Team USA – 10.67sec; Thomas Le Bretton, Groupama Team France; Chris Draper, Softbank Team Japan – 12.41sec.
But Peter, who took part in the challenge afterwards, notched a time better than all the America’s Cup pros. He recorded a blistering 9.95sec.
Peter, who has ambitions of one day competing in the cup, added: ‘I’m here trying to defend my title that I won last year.’
Speaking of his Rio 2016, he added: ‘We’re all feeling great. We’re all feeling really confident.’
Ross Nolan, of Dublin, Ireland, was one of dozens of spectators to attempt the exhausting challenge.
He managed to complete the task in 13.42sec and said: ‘This was very difficult and it gets really tough towards the end,
‘It just shows you how impressive the professionals are. They don’t even seem to slow down.’
Italian Laura Marimon, 24, also put her sailing skills to the test and notched up a respectable time of 16.96sec.
She said: ‘It gets more and more difficult from the eighth second. That’s when it becomes really painful.
‘But I’m really happy with my time.’