BEN AINSLIE admits he cannot wait to get going with another bid to win the America’s Cup after the ‘pain’ of missing out in Bermuda earlier this year.
Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR team was formed in 2012 and had their first cup campaign this year, going out to eventual winners Emirates Team New Zealand in the challenger semi-finals.
For four-time Olympic champion Ainslie it was an unsatisfactory end to a first bid to win sailing’s oldest prize with a British team, four years after glory with Oracle Team USA.
Ainslie’s ambitions remain the same and he expects to fare better when Auckland hosts the next showpiece in 2021.
The Briton is busy preparing for another assault on the famous ‘auld mug’ but admits he has a lot of work ahead of him.
‘It’s still a bitter disappointment, despite how well it went in many ways, because we didn’t win in Bermuda and that is painful,’ the 40-year-old told Metro.
‘But if anything it’s heightened my determination to go and put that right next time. We set high standards for ourselves and everyone is doing this for just one reason, and that is to win the America’s Cup.’
Speed — or the lack of it — proved a constant thorn in Land Rover BAR’s side during the regatta in the North Atlantic and Ainslie knows where his work lies in the weeks and months ahead.
As well as Martin Whitmarsh, the former McLaren Formula One supremo, whose role has changed to head of the newly formed BAR Technologies division, Ainslie has added four-time cup winner Grant Simmer to his team as CEO.
‘I didn’t come back from Bermuda feeling much went our way in the luck stakes,’ said the skipper.
‘As a new team it is incredibly hard but compared to where we were at this point in the last campaign, we are so much more advanced. This time in the last cycle we had absolutely nothing but we’ve retained key people and have a great infrastructure now.
‘Now we have to learn from some of the mistakes we made.’
As holders, New Zealand get to set the rules and they have opted to return the America’s Cup boats from multihulls to monohulls. There will also be new restrictions on the nationality of the crews.
This year’s action caught the attention of millions of viewers worldwide with its high-octane and spectacular AC45 foiling catamarans which ‘flew’ above the water, but Ainslie is confident the changes will not spoil the spectacle.
‘It’ll [still] be exciting,’ he added. ‘Many people see it as a step back but the AC75 [the 2021 boat] will be like nothing we’ve seen before.
‘My understanding is the monohulls will be “flying” like the multihulls were. The weather conditions in the Southern Ocean are very changeable and that will make for an exciting event.’
■ 75 — Feet, the size of the new AC75 boats for 2021 — compared to 50ft catamarans in 2017
■ 75 — Per cent of this year’s cup team that Ainslie expects to rejoin Land Rover BAR in the new year ahead of the next campaign
■ November 30 — Date the new boats will be publically unveiled