America's Cup: Sir Ben Ainslie wants British team

Sir Ben Ainslie wants to win the America's Cup with a British team after helping Oracle Team USA fight back to defeat Team New Zealand.

Oracle were 8-1 down in San Francisco but won eight successive races to take victory and international sport's oldest trophy.

"Between the designers and sailors Britain has the talent," said Ainslie.

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.
  • Oracle also brought racing close to the shore and ushered in a new era of TV production with on-screen graphics to help simplify the sport, a development likely to remain.
  • No British team have won it, but Sir Ben Ainslie has already launched Ben Ainslie Racing with a view to changing that.

"The America's Cup started in 1851 in the UK and we haven't had it back since so it's about time we changed that."

Although the America's Cup was first held in Britain, no British boat has triumphed in the competition's 162-year history.

But four-time Olympic gold medallist, Ainslie, drafted in partway through the competition after New Zealand had won four of the first five races, said the messages of support he had received proved there was interest in the sport in Britain.

"The feedback I've been getting is amazing," added the 36-year-old, the first Briton in 110 years to be on board a winning America's Cup boat.

"In the past the America's Cup has perhaps been a billionaires game, but in the future it will become a commercial reality to go out there and put the sponsors together to have a commercially driven team.

"We need the [financial] support and I hope this event has opened people's eyes to what's possible."

Ainslie admitted to thinking about his friend Andrew Simpson, who died in the same San Francisco harbour in May during a training session, as he crossed the line for victory in the final race on Wednesday.

"I had Andrew in my mind a lot, certainly when I crossed the line," said Ainslie. "He would have loved it. It was a very special moment."

Sir Ben Ainslie on America's Cup win

He told the Daily Mail: "I looked up to the stars after it all settled down at the end and thought of Bart.

"It was emotional. It has been a hard few months with his death and all that followed. He has been in my mind."

Oracle were docked two points for illegally modifying their boats in the build-up and then saw New Zealand win eight of the first 11 races for the 8-1 lead.

But eight successive wins saw the team bankrolled by American billionaire Larry Ellison retain the trophy they won in 2010.

"It's been one of the most amazing comebacks ever and to be a part of that is a huge privilege," said Ainslie.

"We had a mountain to climb. We knew we had to sort ourselves out.

"We got the momentum going and we started believing in ourselves and when you do that you can become quite strong."