BEN Ainslie might be looking to be crowned the greatest sailor ever with gold at London 2012, but he couldn’t end the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta as the best Brit with Giles Scott claiming victory.
However, despite being pipped to top spot by his young pretender, adding yet more fuel to the fire for the Finn London 2012 selection debate, Ainslie insists he will not be playing second fiddle when it really matters.
The 35-year-old is used to having Scott, 24, breathing down his neck – the two were locked in an intense battle for the sole London 2012 Finn spot 12 months ago with Ainslie eventually prevailing.
And the two were at it again at the Weymouth and Portland National sailing Academy but this time it was Scott who came out on top, claiming gold and forcing Ainslie to settle for silver, the latter capsizing in his attempt to snatch first in the medal race.
However, with the Olympics now less than 50 days away, Ainsle admitted he was happy for the test and believes he is now better prepared than ever to claim a fourth Olympic gold medal.
“The medal race wasn’t the greatest race I have ever sailed in my life,” said Ainslie. “I have to say it was a little bit embarrassing going for a swim but sometimes these things happen, thankfully it wasn’t the Olympic Games.
“I made a mistake, we are all human. So it wasn’t my best race but Giles sailed fantastically, he had a great series and I’m really pleased for him to go out and show how good he is.
“It was a good learning experience for sure. We are not that long to go now until the Olympics. For all the top guys to be racing against each other, we learnt something about the course areas.
“It was a shame we missed a couple of days with so much wind, but all said it was a good event and great preparation.
“I didn’t have had a very good week as I was suffering from a virus but you have to deal with those things, it’s no excuse.
“I didn't sail particularly well either so actually to still finish second overall, all things considered it’s not a bad result.”
With Scott and Ainslie being joined in the top six by fellow Brits Mark Andrews and Andrew Mills, the domestic fight for the Finn is something to behold.
And Ainslie believes his domestic rivals can help him finish at the top of the tree at the Olympics this summer.
“It is fantastic to have Giles, and also Mark Andrews and Andrew Mills and Ed Wright. We have got a whole host of guys in the top ten in the world in the Finn,” he added.
“And that is fantastic for me – I’m very fortunate to have those guys to train with. It is just difficult in sailing that there is only one spot per class.”
Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team. For more information go to www.skandiateamgbr.com.