British Olympic gold medallist in top form in Mallorca

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20-08-2013
British Olympic gold medal winner Ben Ainslie brought his sailing expertise to Mallorca yesterday and was part of the Barlo Plastics crew that won the second Clean Marine regatta in Palma. Although still only 24, Ainslie has a wealth of experience and yesterday praised the conditions for his first time racing off Mallorca. “It was a perfect day for racing, the sun was nice and there was a really good breeze. “We started off with a third place after having a few problems, but then we got two firsts which means we've won the whole regatta. “Friday was really good also, it rained a bit which makes it a bit rougher, but you're always going to get wet in sailing anyway.” Racing the IC 45 class Barlo Plastics boat is a new experience for Ainslie, who won a gold medal in the Sydney Olympic Games and a silver at the tender age of 19 in the Atlanta 1996 Olympics in the Laser Class. “It's my first time sailing on an IC 45. It's totally different working with a team and learning how to react, but I'm really pleased with the way it's going. “I suppose when I sailed Laser in the Olympics it was much more focused because it's just myself sailing. Now with a team you all have to rely on each other and the bigger boats are much more to do with how good the team work is. “The team has been really good so far, but I think with any team the hard parts come when you're not doing very well.” Despite the Olympic medals and success that would perhaps go to the head of someone of a similar age, Ainslie is extremely down to earth without exuding the confidence he much surely have to rule the waves. But the Olympic medals must have changed his life somehow? “There was a lot of publicity for me after the Atlanta Olympics because there wasn't that many medals so I stuck out more, however, the whole team did so well in Sydney so the high-profile sports took all the publicity. Not that that bothered me. “Winning the medals has been really good for my sailing, to reach the top is fantastic, and now I get the chance to race in these kind of regattas and also I'm sailing with an American based America's Cup team this year which will be really exciting. “We're training down in Auckland and I'm living in Seattle which is great. Ainslie is also happy that sailing is starting to gain the recognition it deserves in the eyes of the British public and claims recent successes and Ellen MacArthur's amazing exploits in the Vendee Globe race will help keep sailing in the newspapers. “The prominence sailing gets in the British press has really changed over the past few years, the medals in the Sydney Olympics, with three golds and two silvers in sailing, and of course the success with Ellen in the Vendee Globe are all making big news in Britain. “All areas of British sailing, from youth to the top level, are doing well internationally so things are really looking up.”

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