America's Cup: Sir Ben Ainslie 'reasonably confident' of GB bid
Sir Ben Ainslie says he is "reasonably confident" of securing the investment to set up a British team for the next America's Cup.
The four-time Olympic champion was instrumental in US outfit Oracle's thrilling victory over Team New Zealand in San Francisco last month.
Ainslie believes the next two weeks will be crucial if the best sailors and designers are to be signed.
"I've been working hard. I'm reasonably confident," he told Radio 5 live.
"There's a lot of support for sailing in this country. The excitement from this last event, the people who would be interested in backing a team like this, if there was ever a time to do it, it's now."
Ainslie was drafted in as tactician by Oracle Team USA and helped them fight back from 8-1 down to beat Team New Zealand 9-8 in a remarkable series on San Francisco Bay.
America's Cup explained
- First staged in 1851 off the Isle of Wight in England. Won by US yacht America.
- Racing is boat-on-boat, called match-racing.
- The event begins with a challenger series - the Louis Vuitton Cup - to decide who gets to take on the defender in the America's Cup.
- The winner decides the format and venue of the next event. It takes place roughly every 3-5 years but one-off challenges - to do with complicated court proceedings - also occur.
- As holders, Oracle chose 72ft catamarans with rigid wing sails. Foils were pioneered by New Zealand. The high-speed boats were initially criticised over safety, particularly after Andrew Simpson's death in May, but thrilling racing suggests multihulls could remain for next event, though possibly smaller.
- No British team have won it, but Sir Ben Ainslie is hoping to change that
Although the America's Cup was first held in Britain, no British boat has triumphed in the competition's 162-year history.
Great Britain last had a boat in the challenger series - which precedes the main event - in 2003, but has not competed in the America's Cup since a defeat in 1964.
"In terms of raising the funds for a team, that's a big ask," added Ainslie.
"There's a commercial side to it, but you can't build that up right away. That will take more time, and knowledge on where the next event will be and when.
"So in the meantime, we need some private investors to come in and underwrite the campaign so that we know we can get to the end and we can sign the designers and sailors.
"If we can't do that, we won't do it [launch the challenge]. There's no point going into an event like this without the talent because your chances of winning are then very slim."
The America's Cup is held every three to five years, with the winner choosing the next venue, date and type of boats.
Oracle Team USA owner Larry Ellison and official challengers Hamilton Island Yacht Club of Australia will announce the details of the next Cup in early 2014.