America’s Cup: Brits want to bring it home

Published on July 6th, 2015

After taking part in the successful defense during the 34th America’s Cup, Sir Ben Ainslie is now among the five challengers that seek to wrest away the Auld Mug from his former employer’s grasp. As the most decorated Olympic sailor of all time, what with four gold medals (five total), Ainslie now leads his new team for the 35th America’s Cup – Land Rover BAR (GBR).

This will be Ainslie’s fifth America’s Cup team, though some of his stints didn’t go the distance.

He made an exit from One World Challenge (USA) before AC31 while Team Origin (GBR) got blocked from AC33 and vetoed AC34. But as the ‘B’ boat helm for Team New Zealand, he nearly saw the starters win AC32. As for Oracle Team USA in AC34, he joined the team late as back-up tactician, but thrust onto the boat when they were down 1-8, and helped to inspire one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time to win 9-8.

And now Ainslie is eager to see the America’s Cup return home.

The trophy was originally awarded in 1851 by the Royal Yacht Squadron for a race around the Isle of Wight in England, which was won by the schooner America. The trophy was then renamed the America’s Cup where it now operates under the terms of the Deed of Gift, with 34 challengers since 1870, none of which have brought it back to Britain.

Here Ainslie shares an update with the British publication, Express:

On bringing the trophy back to Britain
It’s the only major sporting event that we have never won. It is about being the best of British, to right that wrong and bring the cup home. If I didn’t think it was possible, trust me, I would not be doing it. You get some teams where guys are being quite mercenary, they are being paid to go out there and win something for an individual. Our team, it’s about trying to do it for your country.

On being married
Marriage has helped because it’s now clear what my path is. I’m not worrying about my private life or my future. I really do enjoy that feeling of being settled – especially with all of this going on around me. It’s really important to me to have someone I trust and respect at home to come back to after a really tough day. I try not to take work home too much but it’s brilliant to talk things through with her.

Why all his boats are called Rita
When I was a boy I was racing in Tenerife and my mum went off to a church and she came across Saint Rita. I ended up winning and my mum decided this would be my lucky charm. I was about 10 years old. Since then every boat has been called Rita. It’s a nice thing.

America’s Cup campaign versus Olympic campaign
It’s totally different. In any team environment you’re going to have frustrations from time to time at how things are. With this team, I started it, I’ve been involved in every decision, every hiring and firing to make sure I’ve got the right people. It has been a fascinating process. I’m not a natural showman but I’m deeply passionate about this project, about bringing the Cup home. And this to my mind is the best chance we have and we’re going the best way about it. So I’m more than prepared to put myself forward, take that on and the pressures that come with it.

Comparing the monohull and multihull eras
It has been a huge shift with the foiling boats. A lot of the younger guys coming through, that’s all they have known. Others like myself, we’ve come through Olympic cycles and the old lead mines as we call them, the old America’s Cup boats. But we’ve got the skills. And we are really fortunate because we did it in those classic boats, which were awesome, really powerful. There was that whole pre-start match-racing game, really skillful. To have been involved with that was a privilege. And now, these boats are so cool, so much fun to sail, really exhilarating and we’re a part of that too. Two different eras. It is a totally different sport. You’re flying really.

Complete story, click here

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