Ben Ainslie seeks first British America's Cup win - event guide, race schedule & BBC coverage times

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America's Cup - all you need to know
35th America's Cup in Bermuda
Qualifiers: 26 May-3 June Play-offs: 4-8 June & 10-12 June America's Cup: 17-18 & 24-27 June
Race coverage: Watch highlights on BBC Two, Red Button, Connected TVs, online and BBC Sport app from 11 June.

Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR continue their quest to become the first British crew to win the America's Cup when the qualifying stages begin this weekend.

However, the start has been moved back 24 hours to Saturday because of high winds forecast for Friday in Bermuda.

Ainslie, 40, the most successful sailor in Olympic history with four gold medals, was part of Team Oracle USA, who won the last competition in 2013.

But no British crew has won the oldest sporting event, first held in 1851.

Organisers said the decision to delay the opening day was made with the safety of the sailors and spectators in mind.

"For everyone in this team it would be the biggest achievement if we win the America's Cup for Britain," Ainslie said.

Ainslie was a tactician for Team Oracle USA when they overhauled an 8-1 deficit to beat Team New Zealand 9-8 in a remarkable fightback in San Francisco four years ago.

He is now heading a 65-strong crew which supports the six-man vessel including former rival and Rio 2016 Olympic sailing champion Giles Scott as the team tactician.

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Spying and flying - The secrets behind an America's Cup boat

Ainslie said: "I guess you could say the America's Cup becomes a life obsession.

"It's certainly incredibly complex setting up a new team, to raise the funding and find the right skill sets across the board. It's very hard as a new team to come into the America's Cup and get into a dominant position.

"I'm pretty confident by the time we get racing that we can be competitive and I think we might surprise a few people who have been writing us off."

Regarding the physical demands of the event, which will see his team race for six successive days before their first rest day on 2 June, Ainslie added: "It's been a bit of a change from Olympic sailing where my weight was roughly 15 kilos from where it is now. I haven't been this weight since I was about 18.

"It's been a challenge but the physicality of these boats is immense and we obviously take the fitness programme very seriously.

"Look at our sporting maritime heritage and it's the one thing that's missing, it would be huge if we could bring the cup home."

Sir Keith Mills, founding shareholder of the Land Rover BAR team, said of Ainslie: "He takes tactical risks I'd never see, sees gaps in the water I'd never see, but more than anything else he never, ever gives up and that's the great trait of a great sportsman.

"Sometimes in life there is a right time and this is the right time. This is the best chance Britain has ever had of winning the America's Cup. We've got the best sailor in the world, we're certainly very, very close to winning the America's Cup."

How it works

Ainslie steered his Portsmouth-based team to victory in the 2015-16 America's Cup World Series, a result which earned two points for the qualifying series.

Each team will race each other twice in the qualifiers, scoring one point per win, with the top four teams progressing to the challenger round.

The top four challengers are split into two best-of-five semi-finals from 4 June, with the winners competing in the final for the right to take on holders Oracle Team USA in the actual America's Cup matches.

The first to seven points wins the America's Cup, or the Auld Mug as the trophy is known, with a possible 13 races to be sailed on 17-18 and 24-27 June.

The America's Cup, the oldest competition in international sport, was first raced in 1851 around the Isle of Wight and has only been won by four nations.

State-of-the art design

Often described as the equivalent of Formula 1 on water, America's Cup Class boats are 15-metre long catamarans with 23.5m high sails.

They feature hydrofoil technology which enables them to skim over the water at speeds of about 60mph.

The power is supplied by the crew "grinding" winches, or in the case of the New Zealand team, by onboard cycles.

Race schedule & TV highlights times

All times are BST. Event start times are subject to change. The BBC is not responsible for any changes.

America's Cup Qualifiers - round robin 1

Friday, 26 May

Racing postponed - high winds

Saturday, 27 May

Racing from 18:00-21:00

Race 1 - USA v France, Race 2 - Sweden v Japan, Race 3 - France v New Zealand, Race 4 - Great Britain v Sweden, Race 5 - New Zealand v United States, Race 6 - Great Britain v Japan

Sunday, 28 May

Racing from 18:00-21:00

Race 7 - Sweden v France, Race 8 - United States v Great Britain, Race 9 - Japan v New Zealand, Race 10 - USA v Sweden, Race 11 - New Zealand v Great Britain, Race 12 - Japan v United States

Monday, 29 May

Racing from 18:00-19:30

Race 13 - Great Britain v France, Race 14 - Sweden v New Zealand, Race 15 - France v Japan

America's Cup Qualifiers - round robin 2

Tuesday, 30 May

Racing from 18:00-19:30

Race 1 - New Zealand v Sweden, Race 2 - France v USA, Race 3 - Sweden v Great Britain

Wednesday, 31 May

Racing from 18:00-20:00

Race 4 - Japan v France, Race 5 - Great Britain v New Zealand, Race 6 - United States v Japan, Race 7 - France v Great Britain

Friday, 2 June

Racing from 18:00-20:00

Race 8 - New Zealand v Japan, Race 9 - Sweden v United States, Race 10 - New Zealand v France, Race 11 - Japan v Sweden

Saturday, 3 June

Racing from 18:00-20:00

Race 12 - United States v New Zealand, Race 13 - Japan v Great Britain, Race 14 - France v Sweden, Race 15 - Great Britain v United States

America's Cup teams
CountryNameHelmsman
United StatesOracle Team USAJimmy Spithill
SwedenArtemis RacingNathan Outteridge
New ZealandEmirates Team New ZealandPeter Burling
FranceGroupama Team FranceFranck Cammas
Great BritainLand Rover BARBen Ainslie
JapanSoftbank Team JapanDean Barker

America's Cup Challenger Play-offs semi-finals

Sunday, 4 June

Four races from 18:00-20:00

Tuesday, 6 June

Four races from 18:00-20:00

Wednesday, 7 June

Four races from 18:00-20:00

Thursday, 8 June

Four races from 18:00-20:00

Did you know?
Since 1851, only four nations have won the America's Cup: Australia (once), New Zealand and Switzerland (twice) and the United States (28 times).

America's Cup Challenger Play-offs Finals

Saturday, 10 June

Live - Race 1, Race 2, Race 3 from 18:00-20:00

Sunday, 11 June

Watch highlights of Saturday's races on BBC Two from 12:00-13:00 and repeated 19:00-20:00 on BBC Red Button

Live - Race 4, Race 5, Race 6* from 18:00-20:00

Monday, 12 June

Watch highlights of Sunday's races on BBC Two from 14:00-15:00.

Live - Race 7*, Race 8*, Race 9* from 18:00-20:00

*if required

Tuesday, 13 June

Watch highlights of Monday's races from 13:45-14:45 on BBC Two and repeated at 20:00-21:00 on BBC Red Button.

No live races today.

Recent America's Cup winners
2013: Oracle (US) bt Team NZ 9-8
2010: Oracle (US) bt Alinghi (Swi) 2-0
2007: Alinghi (Swi) bt Team NZ 5-2
2003: Alinghi (Swi) bt Team NZ 5-0
2000: Team NZ bt Luna Rossa (Ita) 5-0

America's Cup Match

Best of 13 races

Saturday, 17 June

Live - Race 1, Race 2 from 18:00-19:30

Sunday, 18 June

Watch highlights of Saturday's races from 12:00-13:00 on BBC Two

Live - Race 3, Race 4 from 18:00-19:30

Monday, 19 June

Watch highlights of Sunday's races from 18:00-19:00 on BBC Red Button and 23:15-00:15 on BBC Two

No live racing today.

Saturday, 24 June

Live - Race 5, Race 6 from 18:00-19:30

Sunday, 25 June

Watch highlights of Saturday's races from 13:00-14:00 on BBC Two

Live - Race 7, Race 8* from 18:00-19:30

Monday, 26 June

Watch highlights of Sunday's races from 13:00-14:00 on BBC Two

Live - Race 9*, Race 10* from 18:00-19:30

Tuesday, 27 June

Live - Race 11*, Race 12*, Race 13* from 18:00-20:00

*On these dates, racing will only take place if the series has not already been decided on previous days. The BBC will have highlights on BBC Two the following day if there is racing.

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