Sir Charles Benedict Ainslie
Macclesfield, but grew up in Falmouth
Who inspired you to start sailing?
My father was a really keen sailor and passed on his passion for sailing to me, my Dad competed in the first Whitbread Round the World Race. Without his support I would never have been able to compete as I did.
An Optimist dinghy, I was aged eight.
First sailing club?
Restronguet Sailing Club, Falmouth.
Ayrton Senna, I think he was a great driver. In the sailing world Paul Elstrom was a fantastic sailor as is Russell Coutts.
When did you know you wanted sailing to be a career rather than a hobby?
I suppose it was the Youth World Sailing Championships in 1995 aged 18 which I ended up winning. That gave me a lot of confidence.
What do you love most about sailing?
Being able to travel the world doing what I love – and the sense of freedom that sailing gives you.
What has sailing taught you?
To be at the top of any professional sport you need determination, honesty and good communication skills to attract the right support.
Favourite ever sailing race?
The America’s Cup.
How do you know when you have good form?
When you are focused and everything just clicks.
How do you keep going when you're on the limit?
With determination and by staying focused.
Competing and winning at all the Olympic games has been fantastic but London 2012 was a real highlight for me, winning my fifth medal in Weymouth in front of a home crowd was incredible, especially after such a tough week on the water.
If you weren't a sailor, what would you be?
I would like to say F1 driver, something else where I can go fast.
If you work hard, and really believe in what you're doing, you can make it happen.
What other sports do you play now?
I like playing golf, although it can be a frustrating game at times!
How do you spend your time when you are not sailing?
I like watching football; my favourite team is Chelsea FC, and watching F1. A perfect day would be relaxing, having a nice meal, watching movies and playing golf.
Do you support any particular charities?
The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation and The Prince’s Trust are two of the charities I support.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”, Winston Churchill.
Sir Ben Ainslie is the most successful Olympic sailor of all time. At his first ever Olympic Games, aged 19, he won an Olympic silver medal and went on to establish himself as the world’s best by winning consecutive gold medals at the next four Olympic Games.
Fresh from his London 2012 success, Ben turned his focus to the next challenge, competing with Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) on the 2012/13 America’s Cup World Series. In the summer of 2013, he went on to join ORACLE TEAM USA on-board for their defence of the 34th Cup, helping the American team win the event, 9-8, against Emirates Team New Zealand.
He was an instrumental part in one of the greatest comebacks sport has ever seen, becoming the first Briton, for 110 years, to be part of a winning Cup team.
Now stepping into a new role, as BAR Team Principal, Ben will develop and lead a British entry into the 35th America’s Cup, with the aim of bringing the Cup back to Britain where it all began in 1851.
• 2013: Winner of the 34th America’s Cup, San Francisco – USA with ORACLE TEAM USA
• 2013: Broke the ‘Round the Island Race Multihull record’ with J.P. Morgan BAR in the AC45
• London 2012 Olympic Games: Gold Medal
• Beijing 2008 Olympic Games: Gold Medal
• 2007: Winner – Louis Vuitton Cup, Valencia – Spain with Team NZ
• Athens 2004 Olympic Games: Gold Medal
• Sydney 2000 Olympic Games: Gold Medal
• Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games: Silver Medal
• 11 times World Champion
• Nine times European Champion
• Four times World Sailor of the Year