Sir Ben Ainslie's Bid for British America's Cup Team Gathering Momentum
Over the last few decades, Sir Ben Ainslie’s name has become synonymous with British sailing and Olympic glory, with his trophy cabinet now boasting one silver and four gold medals. Having competed internationally for 25 years, Ainslie is renowned as master tactician.
Just last summer, he orchestrated what has been described as one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time, as he led Oracle Team USA back from an 8-1 deficit to snatch victory from Team New Zealand by 44 seconds in the dieing rounds of the America's Cup World Series.
Since returning home from San Francisco triumphant last September, Ainslie has been campaigning to enter a British team in the America's Cup World Series by 2017. The competition was originally held off the Isle of Wight in 1851, but since migrating to America, every British team entry has failed to take the prestigious Auld Mug trophy back to Britain.
Standing in the way of Ainslie’s ambition is raising around $100m (£59.7m). Over the last year, Sir Keith Mills and Charles Dunstone, backers of a previous failed British America's Cup team bids have jumped onboard, along with a number of other private investors. Ainslie has aimed to secure around half the funds from commercial sponsorship also.
It appears most of the money is in place, and it has been announced Ainslie will officially launch his America’s Cup team next Tuesday (10th June) at a private breakfast at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, attended by none other than the Duchess of Cambridge.
Last week, the protocols for the 35th America's Cup were released detailing a series of races that will count towards the final race in 2017. The new rules also state that teams will be able to host races in their own country, allowing Ainslie to potentially bring the competition to British shores.
It will be a long wait until we see Sir Ben Ainslie lifting the Auld Mug on behalf of a British team, but its certainly a prospect worth getting excited about.
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Article by Jack Bartrop