Ben Ainslie brought his new ‘Dad’s strength’ to Landrover BAR’s performance at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth with two straight wins to top the rankings in practice.
|Ainslie - more formidable as a Dad?|
Just two days after Ainslie’s wife Georgie gave birth to a baby girl Bellatrix, Ainslie was back on the race track as his bid to become the first British holder of the America’s Cup begins to look ever more likely.
He was absolutely on fire, said Landrover BAR teammate Paul Campbell-James who also became a new dad in April.
“Ben really was on fire today. We had joked about him having ‘Dad’s strength’ but he really brought something extra to it today- he was nailing the starts so it felt really good.”
Racing in front of a home crowd also gave them a boost, Campbell-James added.
“The highlight of every race today was coming down that last reach hearing the crowds shouting and waving the Union jacks. The louder they shout, the faster we go.”
After four practice races, only one of which will count if no racing is possible on either Saturday or Sunday, Landrover BAR were leading the way but when the point scoring starts in earnest on Saturday, the pressure will be on to hold the advantage.
Softbank Japan and Emirates Team New Zealand were the other day’s winners and with the four races producing three winners, there is no predicting who will come out on top in any race, admitted Softbank Japan skipper Dean Barker, especially in a light breeze that rarely exceeded 6 knots.
“The fleet is so tight that when you have light conditions and a current, it definitely makes it more difficult to dominate,” Barker.
“It is very open but if we can start tomorrow like we finished today, we can win. It’s all about not making any mistakes.”
The win in the final race came as a relief for series leaders Emirates Team New Zealand who are missing their star crewmembers Pete Burling and Blair Tuke, due to their Olympic commitments.
“It is very much a new team because everyone has changed position so we really needed these practice races to get the hang of it,” said Emirates Team New Zealand stalwart Ray Davies.
“For the amount of time we have sailed together, it would be hard to come away with a polished result but we will just keep learning from every race.
“We will be doing all we can to keep the guys behind us nipping at our heels and stay in the lead.”