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G4S Sponsored Sailors begin competition at ISAF Championships

More than 5,000 visitors including 1,500 sailors have embarked upon Western Australia this month to watch the world’s best sailors compete in the two week long regatta
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The competition will determine the World Champion in each of the ten Olympic sailing classes.

The GB Team has topped the medal table at the last two consecutive World Championships which is the primary event to qualify for the summer Olympics. The team will be looking to retain their title ahead of their home Games next summer and they are off to a flying start despite some unpredictable weather conditions.

Defending titleholders Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor got their regatta underway with 3 wins and one loss in the first days racing in group B of the Elliot 6m Women’s Match Race, before a lack of wind put paid to the next two scheduled races.

Five time World Champion Ben Ainslie put down an early marker for a sixth world crown on his opening day of racing in the Finn classes, picking up two consecutive race wins. Despite a slow start in the second of the two races, Ainslie pulled back from fifth at the first mark to pip GB teammate Ed Wright at the line.

“I’m happy with the two wins [today] but there’s a long way to go and some tough competition out there” said the triple Olympic Gold medallist.

The next day’s racing was postponed as thunderstorms and lightening swept through Fermantle overnight with gusts of 100km/h winds forecast for the afternoon. With no racing possible on Tuesday Britain’s sailors were keen to get back on the water and resume competition when the weather conditions improved on Wednesday. The team did not disappoint with Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell moving into pole position in the 470 men’s fleet, winning all three of their blue fleet races.

Ben Ainslie also remains in contention to retain his title, sitting in overall third with three third places for the day and 5 races remaining.

G4S sponsored duo Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes will take to the water in the 49er class next week with high hopes of qualifying for London. They are up against some stiff competition, not least from their Skandia Team GBR rivals in the 49er class, as this is one of the few sailing classifications yet to name their selections for the London 2012 GB Team. G4S 4teen’s Guatemalan sailor Juan Maegli will also be competing in the Laser class in Perth.