Following his success in America’s Cup, Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie sits down with YBW’s Isobel Smith to explain his big plans for the future
It’s an understatement to say that Sir Ben
Ainslie has been a busy man over the last 18 months. With a breathtaking
victory at the America’s Cup under his belt and his stellar performance at the
2012 Olympics, he’s now considered the most successful sailor in world history.
Winning the America’s Cup was a fantastic
achievement for the four-time Olympic medallist who pulled Team USA back from
8-1 down to take the title in San Francisco last year.
“There were lots of
times when we thought we probably weren’t going to win because we were in such
a difficult situation”, says Ainslie.
“The good thing is we
never gave up and we kept trying to improve the boat and kept looking for ways
to improve as a team. Even though we knew it was a pretty dire situation, we
stuck at it.”
Thoughts have of
course now turned to the 35th cup and Ainslie is keen to bring the
race, which started in the Isle of Wight in 1851, back to British waters.
“It’s a very complex
task because you’ve got to raise a significant amount of money first to be able
to hire the right people in terms of managers, designers and sailors,” says
“You have to make a
lot of strategic decisions early on which are probably the most important
decisions you’ll make in the whole campaign. Some of those decisions you’re actually
making blind because you don’t necessarily have all the details in terms of the
type of boat, venue and dates.”
However, Ainslie bid
for the cup is making definite progress with part of the $100m needed, already
secured from both private and commercial investors.
“It’s been our main
focus to bring in private investors and that’s gone very well but we still need
more information on the protocols for the next America’s Cup.”
The next America’s Cup
isn’t the only thing lined-up for Ainslie over the next year as he recently
announced his team for 2014’s Extreme Sailing Series, beginning in Singapore at
the end of February.
Ainslie’s team so far
consists of Paul Goodison as mainsail trimmer/tactician, Matt Cornwall as
bowman (pictured right) and Pippa Wilson as floater. The team’s trimmer is yet to be confirmed.
Cardiff will play host
to the Extreme Sailing Series between the 22nd and 25th
August 2014 and with little time to train before the first race, Ainslie isn’t
putting too much pressure on the team to win the series.
going to be tough, obviously we’ve seen all of the teams and there is a lot of
experience and a lot of talent there. This will be the first time we’ve been on
this circuit the whole way through and we are very excited to be here with
J.P.Morgan and looking forward to a great circuit around the world.”
Ainslie has also been
involved in the organisation of Bart’s Bash – a worldwide yacht race taking
place in memory of his close friend and Olympic sailor Andrew Simpson, who died
during America’s Cup training in May of last year.
“It really says a lot
about Andrew as a person that we’ve had so much support in the last six months
building up this foundation.”
“We’ve got a number of
plans which we’re putting in place on how to start using the funds to help
younger people come into the sport of sailing.”
The Andrew Simpson
Sailing Foundation is aiming for the event to make the record books as the
biggest yacht race anywhere in the world. Nearly 200 sailing clubs have already
signed up to the race due to take place on September 21st.
You can watch YBW’s
interview with Sir Ben Ainslie below:
Image credit: OnEdition