| WEYMOUTH, England, July 29
WEYMOUTH, England, July 29 Denmark's Jonas
Hogh-Christensen nailed his colours to the mast of his Finn
single-handed heavyweight dinghy on Sunday, beating reigning
Olympic champion Ben Ainslie into second position in both the
first two races.
Hogh-Christensen used his near 10 kilo weight advantage over
Briton Ainslie to good effect in blustery conditions on the
waters of Weymouth Bay off the south coast of England, saying he
would do everything he could to defend the record of Danish
sailing great Paul Elvstrom.
"Ben might beat his record but I still think Paul is the
bigger sailor...I hope I can protect his (Elvstrom's) legacy,"
Hogh-Christensen said when he came ashore after two impressive
Hogh-Christensen said Elvstrom still followed sailing
closely and his son-in-law works with the Danish team.
The red-haired Dane made a strong start in both races and
capitalised on this when he chose the left hand side of the
course in the upwind leg of the second race. The wind here
favoured the sailors over those who opted to go the other way,
Ainslie, 35, will have to beat Hogh-Christensen and other
heavier rivals if he is to achieve a record-breaking fourth
consecutive gold medal in 2012.
This would see him break the record set by
Hogh-Christensen's compatriot Elvstrom who won four golds
between 1948 in London and 1960 in Rome. In addition to his
three gold medals, Ainslie won silver in the 1996 Atlanta games
in the smaller Laser class.
"It was a good day, in very shifty winds. I didn't have such
a great first leg. They were very difficult conditions when you
race that close to the shoreline. I think he (Hogh-Christensen)
was on a hot line to Paul Elvstrom today. It's a good start, I'm
happy with that," Ainslie said.
Croatia's Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic came third in both of
Sunday's races, with U.S. Beijing silver medallist Zach Railey
well down the fleet of 24 boats.
"It was a very difficult day, very shifty. I'm OK with the
result in the first race," Railey said. "I made two major
mistakes on the first upwind leg in the second," the American
Austria's Florian Raudaschl made two strong starts but faded
as the races developed. Choppy seas, with white caps on the
waves at times, made for testing conditions with one of the
Finns capsizing dramatically in the first race.
In the other heavyweight men's class, the two-man Star
dinghy, French duo Xavier Rohart and Pierre-Alexis established a
massive lead over the 15 other boats in the second lap of their
opening race after finding favourable wind - known as "pressure"
in sailing - on the left hand side of the large course to the
west of the bay.
Ireland's Peter O'Leary and David Burrows were second and
Greek pair Emilios Papathanasiou and Adonis Tsotras third.
Brazil's Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada were fourth, while
reigning Olympic champions Iain Percy and Andrew "Bart" Simpson
limped in 11th after a couple of poor tacks.
They improved in the second race, which ended in a photo
finish for first and second position between Britain and Brazil,
with the Brazilians awarded the victory and Poland third.
(Editing by Justin Palmer)