The 2019 GC32 World Championship kicked off today in Lagos on Portugal’s Algarve, with a full set of five planned races completed in 10-16 knots of breeze.
It was a frustrating start for the British team but by race four they were back in the mix, taking second place followed up with a race win in the fifth and final race of the day.
Delivering the victory in style, with a gutsy port tack start, the team favoured the right beach side of the course, this strategy paid off and they were able to lead at the top mark. The race was not without its difficulties but they kept their cool to the finish line to take the win.
After day one the scores are tight with the top four boats separated by just one point. The team sit in third place with 19 points, joint with Franck Cammas' NORAUTO whilst Oman Air and Alinghi jointly own the top sport with 18 points each.
Ben Ainslie, Team Principal and Skipper;
“Good conditions out there today we started off with a south westerly and reaching starts and ended the day with offshore breeze and upwind starts, so it was a nice transition to have both for a pure sporting challenge. All the teams were a little up and down, it’s just a really strong fleet and if you make one mistake you’re down the back of the fleet pretty quickly so extremely high levels of concentration are required.
“In that final race we wanted to start on port and head off to the right side because that had been paying off and we looked at the way everyone was stacking up and the wind had gone a bit left so we went for it – did a Boris Johnson, do or die! We had a few issues on the last downwind leg but we had enough of a lead to sail it home.
“It’s close points wise at the top, if it carries on like this it’s going to be an interesting World Champs. But that’s what we want, that’s why we are here for some good quality racing.”
Day two of racing is due to resume tomorrow (Friday) at 1300 – 1700 local / UK. Follow the live blog and tracking www.gc32racingtour.com
1. Oman Air (OMN) 18pts
2. Alinghi (SUI) 18pts
3. INEOS Rebels UK (GBR) 19pts
4. NORAUTO (FRA) 19pts
5. Argo (USA) 23pts
6. Reb Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 27pts
7. Team Tilt Alinghi (SUI) 28pts
8. Zoulou (FRA) 36pts
9. CHINAone NINGBO (CHN) 42pts
10. Black Star Sailing Team (SUI) 45pts