Olympic star Ainslie warms up against Bermuda hopeful
National match racing champ Joshua Greenslade and team Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC) Sailing Academy warmed up for the $100,000 Argo Group Gold Cup with a dress rehearsal against four-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie at the weekend.
Greenslade, one of the youngest skippers in this year's fleet, gained valuable pointers from two-time Gold Cup winner Ainslie during two practice sessions in Hamilton Harbour which he intends to put to good use when the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT) sanctioned event begins tomorrow.
“I've never raced against someone of this calibre before,” Greenslade told The Royal Gazette. “But our pace with Ainslie was pretty equal and I thought we did quite well on the starts.
“I got to see what he's looking out for when he's sailing and obviously he's always looking to make sure the boat is going fast — especially with IODs (International One Design) which you have to keep the pace on. I think we sailed quite well, it was fun.”
Greenslade qualified for the Gold Cup after defeating Lance Fraser at the Bermuda Sailing Association (BSA) National Match Racing Championship last August.
The 22-year old skipper will come up against Ainslie during the preliminary round robin of the Gold Cup after both men were placed in Group Two.
Greenslade said training with star sailor Ainslie, who was tactician on Oracle Team USA that defended the Auld Mug at last month's America's Cup in San Francisco, was a memorable experience he will long cherish.
“He was the hardest person I've trained against so I will keep that in my memory bank for a very long time,” Greenslade added. “I will definitely cherish the moment and look back at it if I encounter a similar situation during racing this week.”
Greenslade is sailing in the Gold Cup with Blythe Walker and RBYC Sailing Academy Director and High Performance coach Tom Herbert-Evans and Sean Evans.