THE DUST may barely have settled on Sir Ben Ainslie’s extraordinary America’s Cup win with Oracle Team USA but the sailing great is already targeting a repeat – this time with a British team.
Ainslie played a key role as his team completed one of the greatest comebacks in any sport on Wednesday, when they sealed a 9-8 triumph over Emirates Team New Zealand having trailed 8-1 last week.
The most successful sailor in Olympic history, who won a fourth gold at the London 2012 Games, said lifting the Auld Mug, international sport’s oldest trophy, marked the fulfillment of “lifelong dream”.
Yet despite being an island nation and hosting the first America’s Cup 162 years ago, no British team has won the contest and Ainslie’s next goal is to rectify that anomaly.
“Hopefully the excitement of what we’ve done has generated interest. The feedback I’ve been getting is amazing,” he said. “The event started in Britain and it’s about time we won it. Between the designers and sailors Britain has the talent.”
Ainslie cited the America’s Cup as his outstanding goal last year when announcing he would forego the Rio 2016 Olympics. It was an ambition three decades in the making.
He said: “We had an America’s Cup team in Falmouth in 1987 and I remember watching them training and thinking about one day being involved with the America’s Cup.”