Ben Ainslie and Torvar Mirsky dominate the round robin at Sunseeker Australia Cup
[Source: Sunseeker Australia Cup] Britain’s sailing superstar Ben Ainslie showed his class on the Swan River today, rising to the top of the leaderboard at the Sunseeker Australia Cup, to win the round robin stage of the regatta.
He won five straight races today, turning a fifth place at the end of day one, with a 3 – 2 scoreline, into first place with a scoreline of 7 – 2 this evening, sharing the top score with local skipper Torvar Mirsky, but taking the top spot on a tie-break.
Talking about his improved form Ainslie said, “that was a bit cleaner today, we had a little bit of rust yesterday, the guys were a bit tired having just flown in from Europe, but we felt a bit better today, and got things slightly smoother I think.”
Highlights from day 1 of the 2010 Sunseeker Autralia Cup. Perth, 24 November 2010. Video copyright Sunseeker Autralia Cup
Winning the round robin brings with it the privilege of choosing his quarter-finals opponent, and he has selected South African Ian Ainslie who finished fourth on the leaderboard.
One of the big areas of improvement for Ben Ainslie today was in his starting, generally getting off the line in control.
He commented, “it is difficult, because it’s so shifty, and with such a tight starting box, it really all happens in the last 30 seconds, but we pretty much got what we wanted in most of the starts.
“I guess they weren’t all perfect, they never normally are in match racing, but we ended up having control in most of the starts, and half way up the beat, but really on this course it’s so shifty it’s more about good speed, getting the shifts and good crew work when things are shifting around so quickly.”
It was Western Australian skipper Torvar Mirsky who defeated Ben Ainslie in the final of this event last year, so a repeat of this match in the final this year is still possible, no doubt with the British skipper hoping to reverse the result.
Another important game within a game being played out at this event is the fight for the last place available at next week’s Monsoon Cup, in Malaysia, the final and deciding regatta on this year’s World Tour.
The top placed skipper at the Sunseeker Australia Cup, who has not already qualified, will grab that slot.
Conditions on the Swan River’s Perth Water were very tough again today, with the seabreeze piping in at 15 to 20 knots, which on such a tight course is a real test of skill, fitness and agility.
The Sunseeker Australia Cup is hosted by the Royal Perth Yacht Club, and managed by Swan River Sailing.
RESULTS AT THE END OF THE ROUND ROBIN
1. Ben Ainslie (GBR) 7 – 2
2 Torvar Mirsky (AUS) 7 – 2
3. Ian Williams (GBR) 6 – 3
4. Iain Ainslie (RSA) 5 – 4
5. Keith Swinton (AUS) 5 – 4
6. Mathieu Richard (FRA) 5 – 4
7. Phil Robertson (NZL) 5 – 4
8. William Tiller (NZL) 3 – 6
9. Peter Nicholas (AUS) 2 – 7
10. Reuben Corbett (NZL) 0 – 9