Ben Ainslie joined ORACLE TEAM USA as one of the most decorated Olympic sailors of all-time. At the London 2012 Olympic Games, Ainslie won a fourth consecutive gold medal, his fifth overall. He is one of only two men to win five medals in Olympic competition, and one of only two to win four consecutive sailing gold medals.
There’s still one trophy that has eluded Ainslie: “I haven’t won the America’s Cup yet – that’s a big goal for me. Not just on a personal level but to be successful as a team.”
Having grown up near Cornwall in the UK, Ainslie started sailing early in the Optimist class.
“I started competing when I was 11 years old, and I loved it. As a kid I wanted to win the Olympics and I wanted to win the America’s Cup.”
It was on Restronguet Creek in Cornwall that Ainslie learned about the importance of reading tides.
“I grew up sailing on a big estuary or inlet. In some ways it’s similar to San Francisco because it’s very tidal. We have a lot of tide here in San Francisco. The weather isn’t as consistent (there) as it is in San Francisco because of the wind. This is a very tough place to sail. Physically, it’s very hard because of the strong winds.”
In January 2012, Ainslie launched Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), a team that began competing in the America’s Cup World Series in August 2012, and he joined ORACLE TEAM USA for the defense of the 34th America’s Cup. Ainslie was at the helm of the team’s second AC72 for two-boat testing.
Since winning gold on home soil in London, Ainslie continued to garner numerous accolades. In December 2012, he awarded knighthood in the 2012 New Year Honours List of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He was named the 2012 ISAF World Sailor of the Year, his fourth time receiving the annual honor; was selected British Yachtsman of the Year for 2012; and he claimed the British Olympic Association’s Athlete of the Year Trophy for Sailing — the third time and second consecutive.
In August 2012, Ainslie took the helm of an AC45 for the ACWS San Francisco only a few weeks after competed at the London 2012 Olympic Games. It marked the first time he competed in the AC45 series, but he is by no means a stranger to the America’s Cup arena having spent 14 months with the OneWorld Challenge America’s Cup campaign after the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.
After competing in the 2004 Games in Athens, Ainslie joined Emirates Team New Zealand and helped to bring the team to victory in the 2007 Americas Cup campaign winning the Louis Vuitton Cup. Ainslie was also skipper of the British Team Origin America’s Cup campaign in 2008-10, winning the World Match Racing Tour with the team in 2010.
He is the only sailor to be crowned ISAF World Sailor of the Year four times (1999, 2002, 2008, and 2012) and British Yachtsman of the Year five times (1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008).
- Knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours List of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
- 10-time World Champion
- Five-time Olympic medalist (four gold, one silver)
- Four-time ISAF World Sailor of the Year (1998, 2002, 2008, 2012)
- British Yachtsman of the Year for 2012
- Three-time winner British Olympic Association’s Athlete of the Year Trophy for Sailing
- 2010 World Match Racing Tour Champion