Ben Ainslie's America's Cup test different to Olympics

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter

Olympic champion Ben Ainslie believes achieving success in the America's Cup will be among his toughest challenges.

The 34-year-old, who won a fourth Olympic gold at London 2012, is now skippering his 'Ben Ainslie Racing'external-link AC45 catamaran in the world series.

"It's like going from a go-kart to a Formula 1 car," Ainslie told BBC Sport.

"The boats are bigger, faster and more expensive, so it's totally different to the Olympics and a much bigger challenge in many ways."

Great Britain's most decorated Olympic sailor added: "Being about teamwork rather than the individual really is a huge change.

"After being a single-handed sailor and making all of the decisions on my own, all of a sudden you have to verbalise your thought processes and make sure the communication is right, because if you don't have that the team doesn't work so well."

The 2012-13 World Series is acting as a warm-up to next year's 34th America's Cupexternal-link in San Francisco, which will be contested between defending champions Team Oracle and a challenger selected following the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup.external-link

Ainslie and his team, who finished tenth in their opening event in the US last month and return to the same waters this week for the second round, are hoping to become serious challengers for the 35th America's Cup.

"Right now the World Series circuit gives us the opportunity to be out there racing, show the brand and give our partners some exposure," Ainslie continued.

"In the next 12-18 months we need to build that up so that we have the funds in place to start recruiting the best team in terms of sailors, designers and managers."

"We can have as many wins as we like in the America's Cup world series but to take it to the next level of actually designing and building one of these boats we're going to need the right level of funding and support."

He continued; "it'll probably take a bit of time [to get right], but I really hope that we can get up there and be successful in the America's Cup arena."

Ainslie, who has been nominated for the 2012 International Sailing Federation [ISAF] World Sailor of the Year Awardexternal-link alongside fellow Britons Helena Lucas and Saskia Sills, admits he "would love" a fifth gold medal in Rio.

He accepts it would be "incredibly hard to top" the feeling of victory at his home Games but would not rule out another Olympic campaign.

"The focus is now on this [America's Cup] project and trying to make that a success," said Ainslie.

"There's a little bit to happen to see what happens with the class system in 2016 [whether the Star fleet is reinstated] and it would be silly to make a decision now when you don't know the facts so we'll just have to wait and see how things develop."