Sailing
Team New Zealand frenemy Ben Ainslie launches British America's Cup team
SAILING

Team New Zealand frenemy Ben Ainslie launches British America's Cup team

Olympic gold medallist and Team New Zealand frenemy Ben Ainslie has announced the launch of a new British America's Cup team with the aim of winning the race in 2017.

Ainslie is Britain's most successful sailor, having won four Olympic gold medals in a prestigious career.

The 37-year-old won the America's Cup as part of Oracle Team USA in San Francisco last year as they saw off the challenge from Team New Zealand and his tactics were seen as playing a key role in the come-from-behind victory that broke Kiwi hearts.

Ainslie was also tactician for Team New Zealand in 2005. 

No British team has won the race since its inception in 1851, however Ainslie is hopeful that his new team Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), which will officially represent the club of Yacht Squadron Racing, can change that fact.

Speaking at the launch in Greenwich, Ainslie said: "It did cross my mind as I stood there with the Cup (in 2013) that this would be much more fulfilling if this was with my own team.

"It is about righting a wrong and bringing the Cup back to British waters for the first time. It's not the easiest option, but it is the right option.

"Coming back and seeing the support shows that there is the demand. It is a huge challenge, taking on (Oracle owner) Larry Ellison and his team. The way we approach it is by being smart and being better in every area."

The team has a budget of £80million, and Ainslie, who has expressed a desire for Formula One design guru Adrian Newey to help with the project, believes that is the right amount as he sets about the challenge of making history.


"That is realistic," Ainslie added. "We don't just want to go out there and compete, we want to win it.

"I don't think any of us would be standing here if we didn’t think it was winnable. We have put together a really strong core group. The hard work starts here."

The venue for the 2017 America's Cup has yet to be determined, although San Francisco is the heavy favourite to see off rival bids from San Diego, Chicago and Bermuda.

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