Olympic sailing star Ben Ainslie takes on America’s Cup challenge

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

London, England, United Kingdom (4E Sports) – Four-time Olympic sailing gold medalist Ben Ainslie will face a new challenge when he leaves dinghy racing to take on 72-foot multihull catamarans as he pursues his dream of giving Britain its first America’s Cup trophy.

“I really love these boats because they are very physical, they’re very dynamic, they’re fast, exciting and the racing is very close, and I think it’s great to watch on TV now,” Ainslie told CNN’s Human to Hero series.

Aside from taking on masts as high as 130 feet, Ainslie is now getting used to working with a crew to control the catamarans as they sail on rough waters.

“The top speed of these boats is around about 30 knots, or 35 miles an hour, which is pretty quick when you’re that close to the water,” said Ainslie.

The 36-year-old Ainslie will act as helmsman for the second boat run by defending champion Oracle ahead of the 34th edition of the race in September, making him a reserve to No. 1 Jimmy Spithill of Australia.

Aside from that, Ainslie also formed up his own team with a view to taking part in a future America’s Cup. His JP Morgan-sponsored BAR team finished third in the final event of the America’s Cup World Series in Naples, competing in smaller 45-foot catamarans.

“All my career, the America’s Cup has been a goal, I’ve always wanted to be with a winning team — preferably a winning British team — and I really felt that I’d done all I could at the Olympic level,” he said.

Spearheaded by Ainslie’s four gold medals, Britain has a lot sailing success in the Olympics but it has never won the America’s Cup since it started in 1851.

“We’ve never won it so I think there’s something there in our maritime history … we really need to put that record straight,” Ainslie said.

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