Sir Ben Ainsley wants to bring the America’s Cup to Britain
The Auld Mug has only been won once by a new team in its 166-year history and Ainslie’s rookie Land Rover BAR has been struggling to find straight-line speed in the practice races in the Great Sound of Bermuda.
Yet while he will go the startline of his first Qualifier race tonight against the Swedish team Artemis as an underdog, Ainslie will recall his part in the recovery of Oracle from 8-1 down to win 9-8 in 2013 with him on board as tactician to warn his rivals the British team cannot be ruled out.
“You only have to look at the last Cup to see how quickly things can turn around and that’s what spurs us on here,” he said.
“Yes we’re in a tough spot, but absolutely we can win this one. We all believe that. The work ethic here is unbelievable. I don’t think you’d get that if people didn’t believe we can win it.”
Ainslie has put everything into this campaign, knowing his name is carrying it.
But the ferocious competitor is thriving under the pressure of the quest he has set himself.
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You only have to look at the last Cup to see how quickly things can turn around and that’s what spurs us on here
Sir Ben Ainslie
“It is pressure because I wouldn’t create something like this if I couldn't push to win,” he said.
“Most people come in and say we’ll give it a crack first time and we’ll learn, and have a serious go the second time. We’ve come and said no, we don’t operate like that. We want to be winning.
“That means we have pushed people incredibly hard. We’ve had to make tough decisions. That has created more pressure for everybody but in my mind that’s the only way we can compete. If you’re not competing to win then what’s the point?
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“It’s put more pressure on the team, on myself, there’s an air of expectation. But when I look around the team I couldn’t ask them to push any harder.
“You have to want to do that. Sometimes it can be hard. But ultimately when you’re out there and you're racing and everything is on the line, there’s a real intensity that motivates me. I like being in these positions, being tested. This is going to be the ultimate test.”