Ainslie aims to bring Auld Mug back to Britain

Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:17pm EDT
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By Josh Reich

LONDON (Reuters) - Having achieved the miraculous in leading Oracle Team USA to the America's Cup last year, Ben Ainslie has set his sights on arguably a greater challenge: returning sport's oldest trophy to Britain for the first time since 1851.

Ainslie, regarded by some as the greatest Olympic sailor, confirmed on Tuesday he is building a team with the goal of returning the "Auld Mug" to Britain, which lost the first America's Cup race to the yacht America and has never won it back.

He fulfilled a childhood dream of winning the competition when he masterminded Orcale's come-from-behind 9-8 victory over Emirates Team New Zealand, after standing on the brink of defeat at 8-1 down in the first-to-nine series.

And now he wants to satisfy another in leading his homeland to victory in 35th America's Cup in 2017.

"Can we win it? Yeah, we can," Ainslie said at the launch of the America's Cup Challenge at the Royal Museums Greenwich in south-east London.

"I don't think any of us would be standing here if we didn't think this was winnable.

"We've put together a very strong core group. Yes, it's a huge challenge, to take on Larry Ellison and to take on Oracle is one of the toughest challenges in sport, but we're determined to do that and we've got a great group of people."

Having experienced a Cup campaign with Oracle's software mogul owner Ellison and his extensive reserves of funding, Ben Ainslie Racing will be a more frugal affair - albeit one with an 80 million pound ($134.33 million) budget.   Continued...

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge stands with Ben Ainslie (R) during the launch of the British challenger team for the America's Cup, at the National Maritime Museum in London June 10, 2014. REUTERS/San Tan/pool