America's Cup: Sir Ben Ainslie announces British bid

Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie was joined by the Duchess of Cambridge as he launched Britain's bid to win the 35th America's Cup.

Ainslie, 37, won the race with Oracle Team USA last year and will captain a team for the next event in 2017.

The historic race first took place off the Isle of Wight in England in 1851 but a British team has never won it.

America's Cup explained

  • First staged in 1851 off the Isle of Wight in England. Won by US yacht America
  • No British team has won it, but Sir Ben Ainslie is hoping to change that with his new team
  • Racing is boat-on-boat, called match-racing
  • Takes place roughly every three to five years
  • The winner decides the rules and venue of the next event
  • As holders Oracle Team USA have revamped the format. Qualifying rounds have been streamlined and will start in 2015. The finals are likely to be in June 2017
  • The boats will be smaller and cheaper, and a quarter of each crew has to be from the team's home nation
  • Oracle Team USA also brought racing close to the shore in 2013 and ushered in a new era of TV production - with on-screen graphics showing those unfamiliar with racing exactly what was going on

"There is a huge passion for the America's Cup in this country and we want to bring it home," said Ainslie.

The duchess, who is a keen sailor and watched some of the London 2012 Olympic racing, attended the launch at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, south east London.

Four-time Olympic champion Ainslie, who was instrumental in sealing one of sport's greatest comebacks when Team USA overhauled an 8-1 deficit to beat Team New Zealand in San Francisco, said the victory had been "way more powerful than anything I had done as an individual".

"But standing there on the podium lifting the America's Cup, it did cross my mind that it would be much more fulfilling with a British team, and so that is the goal."

Ainslie is hoping Red Bull Formula 1 design chief Adrian Newey will help the British project.

The 55-year-old is the most successful F1 car designer in history and has masterminded Red Bull's four consecutive drivers' and constructors' world title successes from 2010 to 2013.

"He's keen to help us but he has a lot of other commitments with Formula 1," Ainslie told BBC Radio 5 live.

"We've just got to see how his timing works out in the coming months and years but he would be a huge asset."

He spoke to Newey at November's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and the aerodynamic specialist is now in a position to help after Red Bull announced on Sunday he had signed a new multi-year deal, which will see a shift in his role to wider projects.

Ainslie, who says his team has a budget of about £80m, added: "There has been a lot of talk about Adrian joining the team and I have met with Adrian a number of times.

"He's a fantastic guy, clearly the most successful Formula 1 designer in history and very passionate about sailing, about the America's Cup."

Red Bull racing's Adrian Newey

Newey has recently negotiated a new deal with Red Bull which may allow him to help Ainslie

Ainslie hopes to base his team in Portsmouth but is prepared to take the venture overseas if his proposals are not given planning permission.

The America's Cup winner decides the format and venue of the next event, which takes place every three to five years.

It has traditionally begun with a challenger series - the Louis Vuitton Cup - to decide which team gets to take on the champions, but qualifying races have been shortened and reorganised for the next competition.

The opening round, which starts next year, will feature a number of teams, to be whittled down to four. These four will then go on to another series of races to decide which one gets to challenge existing champions Oracle Team USA in the 35th America's Cup.