Ainslie takes gold despite injury

06 April 2012 / 22:17

Ben Ainslie clinched gold in the Finn class as he led a strong showing by Great Britain's sailors on the penultimate day of the Trofeo S.A.R. Princess Sofia off the coast of Palma de Majorca.

The three-times Olympic goal medallist damaged his boat and suffered injuries in an incident which kept him out of race nine of the competition, but he has fought back to ensure he will retain the title he won last year, ahead of Saturday's medal race.

"It was one of those crazy days and a really strange pre-start incident, I think because of the big waves and trying to clear another boat which would have caused me to capsize on to another boat," Ainslie said.

"Luckily there was a spare boat lying in the dinghy park that no-one was using so we just switched the rigs round, came back out and just had to try and get a reasonable race to get round the course. I was not very quick at all but managed to sail reasonably well and had very good speed downwind and I finished third."

Ainslie could be joined on the podium by Andrew Mills, who trails the medal positions by just five points.

Helena Lucas won silver in the 2.4mR class behind Holland's Thierry Schmitter, who won his fourth successive title.

"It's great to get a silver medal here - it just gives you that boost of confidence going into the next regatta," Lucas said. "The only person really missing from this regatta is Damien [Seguin], so it's a really strong fleet."

Olympic champion Paul Goodison is pushing leader Simon Grotelueschen for gold in the Laser going into the final day's racing. Trailing by 23 points, Goodison needs to beat the German by four places.

Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson slipped back to fifth in the Star class, but remain only five points off the lead, with seven teams still in contention for gold.

Three British teams - John Pink and Rick Peacock, David Evans and Edward Powys and Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes - will line up in the 49er medal race, while Charlotte Dobson and Alison Young joined Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark in the Laser Radial finale.