Olympic sailing legend working flat out to regain gold standard

THREE-TIME Olympic champion Ben Ainslie is aiming to be back to full sailing fitness by April.

Ainslie, 33, is working to regain his fitness and hit his optimum weight after three years away from the Finn circuit in trying to chase his, now scuppered, dream to win the America's Cup with Team Origin.

Ainslie is currently warm weather training in Australia after re-entering the Finn circuit towards the end of this year.

"I'm still some way off the fitness levels I need and my boat speed is not where it should be so I know there is still a lot of hard work ahead," he said in his blog.

"But, I'm now back on my full weight gain diet and will be doing a lot of weight training so that I can be back to full sailing fitness by next April – realistically that's how long I think it's going to take."

Ainslie won World Cup gold earlier this month in a clean sweep for Britain in the Finn, ahead of Ed Wright and bronze medallist Giles Scott who will provide fierce competition for the single spot to represent Britain at the 2012 Olympics.

Ainslie's six-year unbeaten run in the Finn was ended at this year's Sail for Gold by Scott. Wright won his first world title this year ahead of Scott who came third.

Ainslie said he was "pleased to be mixing it at the top end of the fleet".

He notes: "It is amazing how the body adapts and the only way you can get anywhere near getting back to full sailing fitness is by getting out there and putting yourself through all things your body is not familiar with doing any more.

"It takes time to get your body used to hiking out and all the other strains your body feels sailing a Finn again."