Ainslie Looks to Bow Out at the Top
Following the decision by team owner Sir Keith Mills to disband TEAMORIGIN, Ainslie cited the Monsoon Cup and the ISAF Match Racing World Championship as the perfect way to bring down the curtain, for the foreseeable future at least, on one of the most established teams in the history of match racing: “It would be fantastic for us as a team to bow out at the top of the World Championship and to win the Monsoon Cup next week. The Monsoon Cup is unique – I’ve never sailed in an event quite like it because I don’t think there is an event like it in the world.”
With five teams each still in the running to win the Match Racing World Championship at the Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort and Spa in Terengganu, considerable lip service has been paid within the media and amongst the teams about the pressure the sailors will be under to perform. It’s something Ainslie is acutely aware of: “The very nature of match racing demands a certain test of nerve and the ability to deal with different scenarios in tense situations.
“Never more so than at the Monsoon Cup - there you’ve got to tackle the best match racers but also, because of the tricky weather conditions, any poor decisions will quickly eat away any advantage you might have made over your opponent.”
Peter Montgomery, the broadcasting stalwart of numerous America’s Cups, Olympic Games and Volvo Ocean Races, recently cited Ainslie’s mental toughness in the ‘white hot furnace of competition’ as being one of his key assets. For Ainslie, it’s Richard who will be shouldering the most amount of mental pressure: “It’s difficult to say whether Mathieu Richard’s confidence is easily knocked however I’m sure he’s probably feeling the pressure as he only holds a slight lead over Adam [Minoprio] and I. For us, we’ve got nothing to lose so that’s easier psychologically.”
On the subject of Richard and his belief that Ainslie’s biggest weakness is his ‘inconsistency’, the Brit replied: “I was quite amused to read Mathieu Richard’s comment - My team has competed in five events on this year’s Tour and we’re in with a chance of winning the title so I don’t agree with him on that.”
Looking ahead to the specific challenges posed by the Monsoon Cup and the often treacherous conditions, Ainslie said: “If the monsoon rain kicks in, the challenge becomes altogether more difficult. It’s a question of how you and your team deal with that challenge which counts. It’s our third time competing in Malaysia so we know a lot about what it takes to win a match race there.”