BEN Ainslie's preparations ahead of his bid to become the greatest ever sailor included not even finishing as the top Brit in the final event before London 2012.
But fellow British sailor and Olympic bronze medallist Nick Dempsey believes Ainslie will come good when it really matters and claim the title he so rightly deserves.
Heading into this summer's Games, 35-year-old Ainslie, a former Truro School pupil, who learned to sail in Falmouth, already boasts a silver and three gold medals in his Olympic trophy cabinet.
And if he was to retain his Finn title in Weymouth then Ainslie would overtake Dane Paul Elvstrom – who won four golds between 1948 and 1960 – as the most successful ever sailor.
However, never before had Ainslie's Olympic involvement, with just one spot per nation per boat available, been under so much threat, with pretender to his throne Giles Scott pushing him all the way.
Ainslie secured his spot with victory in last year's test event but since then, Scott has come out on top at December's ISAF Sailing World Championships in Perth and the Sail for Gold Regatta, on the London 2012 waters, earlier this month.
But despite this less than ideal run up to the Olympics, Dempsey isn't worried about his team-mate – adamant Ainslie's track record speaks for itself.
Dempsey said: "Ben is already regarded as the best sailor in the world and I wouldn't bet against him being officially the best after London 2012.
"He will have everyone behind him willing him on and I don't think coming second to Giles Scott at Sail for Gold will have an effect on him.
"Giles is a brilliant sailor in his own right and would have a chance of medaling himself at the Olympics if he were going so there really is no shame in finishing second behind him.
"And with Giles not at the Olympics it would have meant that Ben had come first at Sail for Gold out of those that are going to the Games so I think his preparations are going well.
"He has proven he is capable of winning and he is. I hope he will succeed and I'm pretty sure he is going to do very well."
Ainslie isn't Britain's only sailing medal hope heading into London 2012, with the team coming away with silverware in eight of the ten Olympic classes and all three Paralympic events at this month's Sail for Gold.
And Dempsey, who has his sights on windsurfing gold having always finished on the podium in Weymouth, believes the honour of a home Games will spur the class of 2012 on to greatness.
"I think the official line of medals is four, but everyone in our team is capable of winning a medal, so who knows?
"This is the biggest. Your home Olympics and the Olympics where I certainly feel the most prepared that I have felt.
"And I am sure Ben will feel the same. Even though he has been there and done it all before you can't begin to imagine what winning Olympic gold on home waters means."
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