AINSLIE HOLDS OUT FOR BRITISH RE-ENTRY TO CUP

 

Sir Ben Ainsle
Photo by Ellen Hoke/ellenhoke.com

At the 8th Annual Leukemia Cup Dinner hosted by The San Francisco Yacht Club, sailor, commentator and author Gary Jobson asked guest speaker Sir Ben Ainslie whether he’d like to round out his Olympic medals and recent America’s Cup victory with a Round the World win.

 
“No, not really!” said Ainslie, quite candidly, agreeing with Jobson that a hot shower at the end of the day is a good thing. He did add however that his Dad competed in the first-ever Whitbread race…and had also dealt with the difficulties of cancer.
 
“The reason we’re here tonight is I think everyone knows someone – friend/family member – who’s been involved with cancer or suffered from cancer. It’s obviously a very difficult disease to go through. My father actually suffers from prostate cancer so I know first-hand what a lot of people here have gone through. It’s a very difficult thing to have to deal with and so I think it’s amazing that you’re all here tonight and raising these funds.”
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Gary J: Oracle Team USA was a little bit behind the 8-ball there, digging deeper, and there was a change. And you were the change, coming on board. How did it feel coming on a third of the way through the regatta and feeling like you had some pressure on your shoulders?
 
Ben A: We were obviously in a pretty difficult situation as a team. We were in dire straits and I think all of you here as sailors would know what the sport is like. There’s a lot of different components to it. So, yeah, we weren’t going particularly well, our speed wasn’t that good particularly on the upwind legs, I think the idea was to bring in a fresh face and a different perspective.
 
My goal was to try to be Mr. Positive even though things were looking about as bad as they could be to try and get some enthusiasm going. And of course this America’s Cup, it was always going to be a development race with a new class of boat with the AC72 multihulls, foiling and everything that goes with that. There was always a chance that we could develop faster than the other team and build some confidence from that. Ultimately that’s what happened. It was definitely a team effort – the designers, the boat builders, the sailors all coming together to make some..actually some quite small changes. There’s been a lot of talk about Herbies? I don’t even know what a Herbie is but maybe someone else here knows. But it didn’t have anything to do with us winning the America’s Cup, it was about small changes and looking at technique on the boat with the sailors and the designers and ultimately winning some races and getting some confidence.
 
 

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