A man on a mission when it comes to winning the America’s Cup with a British team, Sir Ben Ainslie is relishing the chance to test their first boat out on the water this week.
Ainslie, the most successful sailor in Olympic history with four golds and silver to his name, won the race last year with Oracle Team USA, helping to pull off a remarkable fight back to become the first Briton to taste success in the sailing match race in more than a century after coming back from 8-1 down to win 9-8.
Determined to win sailing’s prestigious prize with a British-based team, the 37-year-old is now behind the bid to win the 35th edition in 2017 with his Ben Ainslie Racing Team.
This Monday saw the launch of his new Portsmouth-based charity, the 1851 Trust, a charitable arm to his team designed to inspire and engage a new generation through sailing and the marine industry.
And rather than slow down since retiring from Olympic competition following his fourth Games gold at London 2012, Ainslie insists it is all systems go.
“The America’s Cup is one of those projects which is all consuming and takes up so much of your time, whether it be fundraising, getting the management team, the sailing team, building the boat and to get that all coming together is a massive operation,” he said.
“We will hopefully be trying the test boat this weekend on the Solent which is a really exciting moment for the designers, the sailing team and everyone involved.
“We have been working flat out on this project since we started out ten months ago.
“We have achieved a lot already and I’m pleased with the progress but there are still key steps to go.”
While Portsmouth is hoping to play host to two preparations events for the America’s Cup over the next two summers, Ainslie is keen to see a longer-term legacy emerge with the 1851 Trust running in conjunction with the team.
The team will host a visitor centre for the Trust at their Portsmouth headquarters, opening in June 2015, while apprenticeships will also be offered, leading to jobs in the marine industry.
Supported by Royal Patron, the Duchess of Cambridge, Ainslie believes the impact of the Trust will be clear to see.
“The project is about putting together all the positive aspects of the team, the sporting element with the America’s Cup but also the Trust and using that to activate all of the positive initiatives and carrying on the sailing impact even after 2017,” he added.
“We can get young people into our team base and inspiring them to get out on the water, doing apprenticeships and hopefully creating jobs.
“This Trust just allows us to try to boost the local area as much as possible, without losing focus on the huge goal of trying to win the America’s Cup.”
Main image courtesy of FOX Sports via YouTube, with thanks.