Ben Ainslie will only take part in next America's Cup if rules give him a chance to win

Romsey Advertiser: Sir Ben Ainslie Sir Ben Ainslie

Sir Ben Ainslie's British challenge for the next America's Cup is taking shape, but the four-time Olympic gold medallist will not commit to the event unless the rules give him a chance to win.

Having become the most decorated sailor in Olympic history at London 2012, the 36-year-old last year helped Oracle Team USA recover from a seemingly impossible 8-1 deficit to win international sport's oldest trophy.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Lymington-based Ainslie, who launched his own team, J.P. Morgan Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), in January 2012, is now looking for funding to mount his own challenge for the 35th edition of the America's Cup.

Ainslie is quietly confident about being able to drum up enough backing to challenge, but will only commit to the event when the rules and regulations, chosen by the winner, are announced in the coming months.

"Well, we've got a lot on at the moment trying to raise the money, the funding, for the America's Cup and start to try and put a team together," he said at the London Boat Show.

"It is a huge challenge but so incredibly exciting to be able to start doing that and put a credible team together.

"There is no fixed date for the protocol or the rules of the America's Cup to come up, but we expect them to be reasonably soon, certainly by the spring.

"We hope to see some good cost-cutting measures to encourage more teams to be involved in another exciting event, possibly in San Francisco.

"If that is the case, then we will look forward to pushing forwards with the team."

Ainslie, who hopes to have Red Bull's Formula One design chief Adrian Newey involved, added: "When you are talking about a big budget, around about US dollars 100million (£60.8m), we need to be very certain about what the parameters are, what we are up against, what the challenge is.

"We won't commit to the Cup unless it is a realistic challenge for the challenging teams, that they can have a chance to take on the defender and win."

It is shaping up to a busy year for Ainslie, who is not only planning an America's Cup challenge but skippering BAR in the Extreme Sailing Series.

His team was announced on Wednesday as one of nine taking part in the eight-stop globe-trotting event, which starts in Singapore next month and ends in December in Sydney, Australia.

The Extreme Sailing Series will call at Cardiff between August 22 and 25 and Ainslie sees it as the closest racing you can get to the America's Cup this year.

"It is great fun, a global series of eight races in the Extreme 40 class, which is sort of a smaller version of the America's Cup class, if you like," Ainslie said, speaking at the unveiling at London Boat Show.

"We are very excited about that and excited to get back out on the race course.

"We have a great team. We have some of my old Olympic team-mates, Paul Goodison and Pippa Wilson.

"We also have others I sailed a lot with in America's Cup boats and other types of racing, and most importantly they are good personalities and we will gel with as a team."

Ainslie will also be competing again in the Round the Island race, having smashed the multihull record off the Isle of Wight last year - a special victory that came less than a month after the death of close friend Andrew Simpson.

Ainslie dedicated that victory to the 2008 Olympic gold medallist and, along with Iain Percy and Simpson's wife Leah, founded the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation, honouring his life and legacy by encouraging youngsters into sailing.

"That has been amazing, really," he added. "The amount of support we have received has been very humbling and I just think it shows what a fantastic person Andrew was and how much support he garnered.

"This year it is exciting in terms of going out and really trying to put some of those funds into place and really try to make a difference, try to encourage more young people into the support and build up the foundation."

Comments (1)

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8:58pm Wed 8 Jan 14

H0ckeyd says...

I sat there in Auckland last year while he absolutely broke so many Kiwi's hearts...I tried to keep a lid on the fact he's a local lad however....That wouldn't have gone down too well.
I sat there in Auckland last year while he absolutely broke so many Kiwi's hearts...I tried to keep a lid on the fact he's a local lad however....That wouldn't have gone down too well. H0ckeyd
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