Ben Ainslie was on vituoso form as he jetted in to Ford Cork Week for a couple of days racing sandwiched between winning the Finn European title last week and next weekend flying to Athens for the first Olympic test event there.
In the IRM High Performance class today he took over the helm of David MacLean's IC 45 Babbalaas, which he last month helped guide to the IRM UK National title and earned the boat's first win of the regatta.
With the breeze at only a light and fluffy 4-6 knots, streaked down the windward leg with light patches, Ainslie and the Babbalaas crew, which include Assa Abloy skipper Neal McDonald on mainsheet and his wife Lisa in the pit with Jason Slattery on bow, were sharpest off a tightly packed start line.
They were established first on the favoured right side of the course where the best of the wind pressure was and quickly built a useful lead, ahead even of the 50 footers for most of the race. Indeed it was only on what proved the last downwind leg that Nick Hewson's Team Tonic, the Farr 52, took line honours after opting for only one gybe on the last downwind as they came down on a better line of breeze, while Bear of Britain and Babbalaas gybed across one another several times.
While Babbalaas only crossed a matter of half a boat length ahead of Glyn Williams IC 45 Wolf, which computed to a win by 12 seconds on corrected time, it proved a 1,2,3 for the IC 45's today as Chris Little's Bounder took third. Only one of the two scheduled races was completed today due to the light, unsettled nature of the breeze. With second today Williams Wolf leads still with a seven points margin over Chris Little's Bounder.
1 IC 45, Babbalaas (D McLean) 1:56.34,
2 IC 45 Wolf (G Williams) 1:56.46,
3 IC 45 Bounder (C Little) 1:57.53,
4 Farr 52, Team Tonic (N Hewson) 1:59.04,
5 Race 1/Ker 11.3 Minnie the Moocher (A Richards) 1:59.48.
1 Wolf 8pts,
2 Bounder 15pts,
3 Mumm 30, Tigger (C Thorne) 17pts,
4 Babbalaas 20pts,
5 Farr 40, Too Steamy (N & A Haigh) 20pts.