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18 September 2005, 06:56 pm
AINSLIE Makes It Four In A Row
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Finn Gold Cup 2005
Moscow, Russia

18 months ago in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Ben AINSLIE (GBR) won the Finn Gold Cup for the third time in a row, a feat only once before achieved in the event's 48 year history by Jorg BRUDER (BRA) between 1970 and 1972. Today in Moscow, Russia, AINSLIE has made his own record, winning the ISAF Grade W Finn Gold Cup for the fourth consecutive year after racing had to be abandoned on the final day.
With a light northerly light wind in the morning, the fleets set sail for the final race of the 2005 Finn Gold Cup. The temperature had dropped to three degrees overnight so those sailors who had only brought summer sailing gear found the day rather cold. In fact the gold fleet sat around for over two hours before a race could be started. The wind changed from one minute to the next and was varying by over 70 degrees. So the race committee waited around in the cold air for it to stabilize.

Finally at just after 1300 hours local time, the postponement came down and the fleet got underway. Series leader AINSLIE said, 'In these conditions I was going to try to control Emilios [PAPATHANASIOU (GRE) - the only man who could beat him] from the start.' At the four minute signal, the two were locked together in their own match race. AINSLIE succeeded in delaying PAPATHANASIOU's start, but picked up a penalty himself. 'I wasn't sure if our boats touched, but I did the turns anyway to make sure.'

The two boats started well behind the fleet with PAPATHANASIOU banging the left hand corner in a bid to find a large enough shift to get him back to the front. AINSLIE played the shifts and looked ahead half way up the beat when the wind died again and the race officer admitted defeat and abandoned racing. 'It was a huge relief when they abandoned,' AINSLIE admitted later. 'With the wind we have had here this week anything could have happened.'

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Ben AINSLIE celebrates his
fourth Finn World title
© finngoldcup2005.ru
So AINSLIE makes history in being the only sailor to win four Finn Gold Cups, and these in successive years. He won in Athens, Greece in 2002, Cadiz, Spain in 2003, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2004 and now Moscow, Russia in 2005. His coach David HOWLETT commented, 'Ben's outright professionalism is the key to his success.'

AINSLIE concluded, 'The organization is great, I liked the sailing centre but the race conditions were very difficult. I am very happy that I could cope with the wind and win.'

Second placed PAPATHANASIOU scored his best Finn Gold Cup result to date, but is still looking for that World Championship win that continues to elude him. Third placed Chris COOK (CAN) wins his first major championship medal after being one of the few sailors here to find any sort of consistency.

Meanwhile the silver fleet sailing on course two further down the lake - had just enough wind to start a race at 1130. The race was characterized by large shifts and flat patches and the left hand side was made more interesting on the third beat with the arrival of a cruise vessel trying to get down the lake. The lead changed several times and it was a surprised Alexey LAVROS (RUS) who found himself leading the fleet. He eventually finished fourth with the lead finally going to Class President Balasz HAJDU (HUN) to lift him to third in the fleet. A good third place from Edward GREIG (GBR) lifted him to second in the silver fleet, while the ever consistent Giedrius GUZYS (LTU) posted a sixth to win the fleet by 13 points. Full credit must go to the slick race team who managed to change the marks for each and every leg of the race as the wind performed circles around them.

The Junior Finn World Championship was won by Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC (CRO) in 18th place, beating defending champion Tapio NIRRKO (FIN) by just eight points. Third placed Norbert WILANDT (POL) finished in 38 place, 58 points behind KLJAKOVIC GASPIC.

Interestingly, AINSLIE is one of many America's Cup sailors taking time out of their AC day jobs to sail the Finn. In fact five of them have won races here. From +39 (ITA), Rafael TRUJILLO (ESP), Andrew SIMPSON (GBR), Chris BRITTLE (GBR) and Antony NOSSITER (AUS) have all won individual races. In addition, both AINSLIE and Kevin HALL (USA) - who finished 20th - are with Emirates Team New Zealand.

Before the regatta, number one in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN) had commented, 'Sailing against Ben is like biking against Lance, playing basket against Jordan, driving against Schumacher or playing golf against Tiger. More and more when you look good in a race you start looking around to see if Ben is close to you, if he is not, be ready to get a big shift not going your way. Ben is already a legend in sailing and he will probably be the biggest ever. But bare in mind that legends get beaten. I think Ben looks unbeatable because he has the highest ground level in the world. The rest of us just have to turn it up a level or two, to beat him. If we didn't think that he could be beaten we should start doing something else.'

Finally the International Finn Association extends big thank you to Moscow, Moscow Sailing School and the literally hundreds of helpers, staff and officials who have made the Championship possible. While the sailors expected difficult sailing conditions, the magnitude of the welcome and the organization took them completely by surprise. Moscow Sailing School have a first class facility and have excelled in running a fabulous regatta.

Next year's Finn Gold Cup is in the beautiful town of Split, Croatia. Will AINSLIE turn up and try to make it five in a row? Watch this space...

Top Ten Results

Pos Nation Helm R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 Pts
1 GBR Ben AINSLIE 2 1 1 2 (10) 2 8 1 17
2 GRE Emilios PAPATHANASIOU 1 3 1 (8) 5 3 2 6 21
3 CAN Christopher COOK 3 (50) OCS 3 13 8 5 1 9 42
4 POL Waclav SZUKIEL (19) 8 7 4 2 14 5 14 54
5 CZE Michal HRUBY 8 10 17 2 1 7 (23) 13 58
6 NZL Dan SLATER 10 1 2 7 17 10 13 (26) 60
7 ESP Rafael TRUJILLO VILLAR 8 12 11 1 (32) 8 12 8 60
8 AUS Joshua BEAVER 12 5 (40) 9 4 22 7 5 64
9 SWE Daniel BIRGMARK 2 3 8 (21) 19 8 21 4 65
10 CRO Marin MISURA 11 18 2 3 1 15 (20) 16 66
Robert Deaves (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Four times Finn World Champion Ben AINSLIE:© finngoldcup2005.ru
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