Ainslie aims for 2017 America’s Cup

Published: Monday 13th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Olympic great Sir Ben Ainslie is gearing up to take his America’s Cup testing boat to water for the first time.

The four-time Olympic gold medallist has secured royal appointment to create more than 1,000 jobs in Portsmouth after setting up the Ben Ainslie Trust.

The Duchess of Cambridge is the royal patron of the new trust, launched in Portsmouth on Monday.

The Ben Ainslie Racing team will contest the 2017 America’s Cup, with preparation races expected to be staged in Portsmouth in the next two years.

Ainslie helped Oracle Team USA pull off a remarkable fightback to become the first Briton to claim America’s Cup glory in more than a century in 2013.

Now the 37-year-old is targeting his lifelong ambition of spearheading the first British team to land sailing’s treasured prize.

“We’re very well developed with our testing boat that we’ll be sailing in the very near future,” said Ainslie.

“That’s quite a milestone for the design and boat-building team.

“We have been racing in a number of different types of competition this year, which culminates in the extreme sailing series final event in December in Sydney.

“With the base which is in full build, we expect to be operational by next May. So the team is doing really well, we have achieved a huge amount in the last eight to 10 months.

“Obviously there’s a long way to go but we’re very happy with the progress being made and where we are at the moment.

“We’ll never be ahead of our plans until we’ve won the America’s Cup, but certainly we’re happy with the progress that’s being made, and it’s a huge effort from everyone involved.

“It had been an ambition of mine since childhood to win the America’s Cup, so to do it with that team was very special.

“But the main ambition has been to win the America’s Cup with a British team, and that’s what’s driven myself and the rest of the guys within the team.

“We all share that passion to bring the America’s Cup back home where it all started, and that’s very important for all of us.”

Entrepreneur Sir Keith Mills has been installed as chairman of the Ben Ainslie Trust, with the charitable body’s namesake proud of the work so far.

Keeping America’s Cup team plans close to his chest, Ainslie said negotiations for design specialists and the competition sailing team are continuing.

“It’s absolutely fantastic to have the Duchess on board as patron,” he said. ” She really is a keen sailor and when it’s more practical I’m sure we’ll get her on the water, she certainly wants to do that.

“We have a clear target to create more than 1,000 jobs for the Portsmouth area, within the marine industry, off the back of the team.

“But 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.

“We’re still in negotiations over further design help.

“We haven’t made any more signings to the design team at the moment, but we’ve been having very encouraging conversations.

“Hopefully we’ll make a couple more additions to the sailing team that will be very positively received too.”

Published: Monday 13th October 2014 by The News Editor

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