Ben Ainslie to launch America's Cup team after Olympics
Britain's three-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie will launch his own America's Cup team following this summer's Games.
Ainslie, 34, will attempt to win a fourth gold medal and become the most successful Olympic sailor ever in Weymouth and Portland in August.
He will then turn his attention to the 2012/2013 America's Cup World Series with a new Ben Ainslie Racing team.
But he says it does not necessarily signal the end of his Olympic career.
Ainslie on being disqualified at the World Championsips
“It certainly wasn't the greatest moment of my sailing career”
"I'm not getting any younger but a lot depends on the classes for 2016, what are eventually selected, and a little bit how things go in the summer," he said.
Ainslie's team, entering under the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club in Falmouth, will be too late to challenge for the 34th America's Cup in 2013, and he will join Oracle racing to help with their defence of the trophy, but the Briton hopes his outfit will be "the real deal" for the 35th running of sailing's blue riband event.
"The goal today is to put together a team to test the waters of the America's Cup with a view to coming in with a full challenge for the 35th America's Cup," he said.
Ainslie has been involved in the America's Cup before, spending 14 months with US team OneWorld before leaving in 2003, and then accepting a role as back-up helmsman to Dean Barker at Team New Zealand for the 2007 Cup.
AMERICA'S CUP WORLD SERIES
This is a regular circuit of regattas in multihull boats that allow teams to prepare for the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America's Cup Challenger Series and the America's Cup Finals. The World Series boats are 45ft, as opposed to the 72ft boats of the America's Cup proper.
After re-entering the Olympic arena for Beijing he was then appointed helmsman for British America's Cup challenge Team Origin, which eventually pulled out of the next event, set to be held in 2013.
Ainslie had his doubts about the cutting-edge 72ft multihull boats used in America's Cup racing, but he said: "I have to put my hand up and admit I was a little bit skeptical with the switch to multihulls, but having watched what's happened over the past season, I'm a convert.
"The racing is fantastic and all of the sailors I've spoken to who have been involved in the Series are really enjoying it.
"The AC45s respond almost like dinghies, and the short courses mean there's so much going on all the time, which brings in a level of physicality that wasn't in the America's Cup before."
The Royal Cornwall Yacht Club has supported the Olympian since the beginning of his career.
Ainslie said: "It's my home club; it's where I grew up. I've had so much support from the club over the years, it seemed a natural fit."
Ainslie's Olympic history
- 2008 - gold (Finn)
- 2004 - gold (Finn)
- 2000 - gold (Laser)
- 1996 - silver (Laser)
Ainslie was selected for the Finn class in the 2012 British Olympic sailing team in September, but failed to win a medal at December's World Championships after being disqualified from two races following an altercation with with officials on a media boat.
He had been leading the overall standings at the time, and compatriot Giles Scott went on to take the world title in Ainslie's absence.
"It certainly wasn't the greatest moment of my sailing career," said Ainslie.
"It was a very regrettable incident. The issue is in the hands of the Royal Yachting Association, so it's really down to them now to decide what the next step is. I obviously regret hugely what happened.
"People seem to forget that the result was that I lost the world championship after an incredibly tough series and that was absolutely gut-wrenching."
The Royal Yachting Association is still investigating the incident and could take further action.