Sir Ben Ainslie showed all his trademark fighting spirit as his British boat won the America’s Cup World Series in Oman. Ainslie and his Team BAR crew – which includes Olympic-bound Finn world champion Giles Scott – topped the standings heading into the Sunday’s three double points races after a third, first and first on Saturday. But they still won it the hard way.
They rebounded from a disappointing start to finish second in the fourth race but two penalties, for being the wrong side of the start line, meant they posted a fourth and third in races five and six. However, the results of others went their way and they topped the overall leaderboard with 76 points, just fractions ahead of defending champions Team USA and Team New Zealand, beaten finalists in 2013.
But, ever the perfectionist, four-time Olympic champion Ainslie will look back on a weekend that saw him pick up penalties on three of six starts, meaning they’ll be no relaxing when the team return to their base on the Solent next week.
“We would have liked to have had some better starts but we were really pushing it,” admitted Ainslie. “But the guys stayed positive and we worked our way through the fleet and that was enough to give us the overall victory. “We made such a hash of our starts and if we’d lost because of that I’d have felt pretty bad. We are just very relieved right now. “We’ve worked really hard on this. We’ve 100 people working on this team and we’re in this together and we can’t wait for the next event now.”
The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series is the first stage of competition in the 2017 America’s Cup, with the next round of racing staged in New York in May.