Sir Ben Ainslie believes a British team winning the America’s Cup for the first time would be ‘massive’ for the country – but admits he is unsure whether he will form part of the crew at the 2017 event.
A four-time Olymic gold medallist, Ainslie became the first Briton to be part of a successful America’s Cup team in over a century as he helped Oracle Team USA to a memorable victory over New Zealand in 2013.
He has now launched his own bid to bring the trophy to Britain and, although he is aware of the challenges ahead, knows what winning the race in their maiden outing would mean to Ben Ainslie Racing and sailing in his home country.
“There has only been one team in the history of the America’s Cup that has gone out and won it the first time around,” he said at an America’s Cup press conference in London.
“It was a big comeback with Jimmy (Spithill, captain) and the guys at Oracle and it will certainly be a big challenge for us with this team.
“But, for us in Britain, to bring the America’s Cup home would be a massive thing for this team and this country.”
Ainslie was part of the Oracle team which won the final eight races of last year's event to overhaul Emirates Team New Zealand and defend the competition with a 9-8 victory.
But, even though he is now building a team to challenge from Britain, the 37-year-old remained tight-lipped about his involvement in the races themselves.
“We are putting together a predominately British sailing team,” he said.
“(It will be) a mixture of experienced guys who have been successful in the cup and some younger talent coming through, particularly British talent.
“Putting that group together and working out how those relationships work – if we were going racing tomorrow I would be steering the boat but that might not be the answer in a couple of years’ time.”