After being denied a chance to vie for the America’s Cup in 2013 when Britain’s Team Origin announced in 2010 that it would take part, three-time UK Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie has taken matter into his own hands.
Putting to rest weeks of rumors, Ainslie announced on January 10 that he will lead a team in the 2012-13 America’s Cup World Series (ACWS), which is being held aboard one-design AC45 catamarans, after he is finished competing in the Finn Class in this summer’s London 2012 Olympic Games.
Although he will be a part of Larry Ellison’s defending Oracle Racing team for the America’s Cup finals in September 2013, Ainslie says he hopes to mount a challenge for the Cup itself as part of the 35th America’s Cup cycle.
Watch the full press conference below:
According to Ainslie, “I’ve always tried to have a plan of what I’m doing next after the Olympics. The 2012 Olympics has been the focus, but from that has come the opportunity to be able to build a team which we hope can ultimately go on to challenge for the 35th America’s Cup.”
During the upcoming AC World Series, Ainslie will represent the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club, the same club that has supported him since the beginning of his career. “It’s my home club,” Ainslie says. “It’s where I grew up. I’ve had so much support from the club over the years, it seemed a natural fit.”
This will be Ainslie’s fourth America’s Cup effort. In addition to Sir Keith Mills’s Teamorigina effort, he has also sailed with the American One World Challenge and Team New Zealand.
“It’s fantastic for the America’s Cup that we’ve got a three-time Olympic gold medallist,” says Oracle Racing CEO Russell Coutts. “The America’s Cup without Ben would be a little bit like Wimbledon without Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic….He’s the number one sailor in the world right now and it’s fantastic to have him involved in our team.”
For more on Ainslie’s involvement in the 34th America’s Cup, click here.