Ben Ainslie finished day 1 of the Mubadala SailGP tied for the lead on 28 pts with Tom Singsby and his Australian team after three races.
Tom Slingsby took two race wins and a third to sit top of the leaderboard tied with Ainslie who took a win and two second place finishes.
In the overall series to qualify for the three-boat, winner-takes-all Grand Final on Sunday, Ainslie moved into third (77pts) behind Pete Burling of New Zealand (79pts) and Australia’s Tom Slingsby who is safely qualified with 99pts.
With two more qualification races Sunday Quentin Delapierre of team France (72pts) is still in with a chance of knocking out Ainslie to claim that third place.
Race 1 in San Francisco went to Aussie Tom Slingsby who took the lead at mark 2 and sailed away to a 45 sec win ahead of Ben Ainslie, with the Swiss in third and Quentin Delapierre of team France 6th.
Race 2 was a blast for Ainslie who passed the Swiss down leg 2 to lead all the way to the finish.
Slingsby battled with Phil Robertson and the Canada team for second, but Robertson claimed second ahead of Slingsby at the finish.
France were 8th and looking out of the Grand Final as Ainslie moved into the third spot behind New Zealand.
In the third and final race of the day, it was Slingsby who quickly took control, with Ainslie moving into second.
These two finished 57 secs ahead of Burling and the New Zealand team, with France finishing a tough day in 6th and facing a struggle to regain a Grand Final place.
The way Slingsby is sailing it is going to be a struggle for any one to deny him a third Grand Final win . . .