Britain’s sailors had a steadier day on the windy waters off Weymouth today but the spotlight remains fixed on Ben Ainslie’s diminishing chances of winning his fourth gold medal.
Though only just over half way through the Finn competition, the Hampshire racer was again frustrated in his attempts to beat Danish sailor Jonas Hogh-Christensen on the water.
Ainslie moved up to second with a 4-3 but the flying Viking trumped this with a 1-2 to extend his lead to 10 points with four more races to go before the double-point scoring medal race on Sunday.
‘He’s on fire and at some point the tables have to turn,’ said Ainslie.
‘At the end of the day it’s about winning. I’ll keep going to the end whatever happens. There is still a long way to go.’
Tomorrow is a lay-day in the Finn class and while Ainslie has dug himself out of bigger holes before he will ponder what he can do to reduce the deficit to the Dane, who only returned to full-time sailing in November.
Another tussle, though with a more positive slant for Team GB, also looks to be going to the wire in the Star class where Hayling Island’s Iain Percy and Bart Simpson lead by four points from world champions Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada of Brazil. The two teams took a first and a second each today.
Laser Radial sailor Ali Young was also on a roll with a 2-2 scoreline to move her up to fourth.
The only bad news for the Olympic debutante is that Ireland’s Annalise Murphy made it four wins from four and looks to have one hand on the gold.
The news from Young’s team-mate in the men’s Laser class, Paul Goodison, was not so good as he came off the water in some pain from a back problem.
His battling second in today’s final race puts him 12th but he has a mountain to climb – if he is able to continue to defend his Olympic title.
The 49er duo of Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes stayed 12th – a third place offset by a capsize that brought them an 18th.
Meanwhile the British Women’s Match Racing team defeated Finland and France.
And the RS-X windsurfing classes began, with Nick Dempsey fourth (5-7) and Bryony Shaw sixth (7-6) after two races.