Ben Ainslie

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Sir Ben Ainslie
Sir Charles Benedict Ainslie in 2014.jpg
Sir Charles Benedict Ainslie in 2014
Personal information
Full nameCharles Benedict Ainslie
Nationality Great Britain
Born (1977-02-05) 5 February 1977 (age 42)
Macclesfield, Cheshire, England
Georgie Thompson (m. 2014)
Sailing career
Class(es)Finn, Laser

Sir Charles Benedict Ainslie, CBE (born 5 February 1977) is an English competitive sailor.

Ainslie is one of the most successful sailors in Olympic history. He won medals at five consecutive Olympics from 1996 onwards, including gold at the four Games held between 2000 and 2012.[1][2]

He is one of three athletes to win medals in five different Olympic Games in sailing, being the third person to win five Olympic medals in that sport (after Torben Grael and Robert Scheidt) and also the second to win four gold medals, after Paul Elvstrøm.[2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

Ainslie was born in Macclesfield, England to Roderick and Sue Ainslie. Roderick captained a boat that took part in the first Whitbread Round The World Race in 1973.[5] Ben's elder sister, Fleur, is married to Jerome Pels, secretary general of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).[5] Ainslie was educated at two independent schools: at the Terra Nova School in a rural area near the village of Holmes Chapel in Cheshire in north west England, and Truro School in the city of Truro, Cornwall, followed by Peter Symonds Sixth Form, Winchester, Hampshire.[6]


Ainslie learned to sail at Restronguet Creek near Falmouth, Cornwall.[7]

He started sailing at the age of eight and first competed at the age of ten.[8] His first international competition was aged twelve at the 1989 Optimist world championships held in Japan where he placed 73rd.[citation needed]


Ainslie won silver at the 1996 Olympic Games and gold in the 2000 Summer Olympics in the Laser class. He gained some 18 kilograms (40 lb; 2 st 12 lb) and moved to the larger Finn class for the 2004 Summer Olympics, where he won gold, a feat he repeated in the 2008 and 2012 competitions. Both his gold medal winning Laser and Finn dinghies are currently displayed at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

On 19 May 2012, Ainslie became the first person to carry the Olympic torch in the UK. Starting the 70-day tour of the United Kingdom at Land's End, he was the first of 8,000 torch carriers.[9] He was selected on 11 August 2012 to carry the flag for the Great Britain team at the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony.[10]

World Championship[edit]

World Championships titles[edit]

Other World Championships results[edit]

At the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships he was in a winning position going into the closing stages of the regatta but was disqualified under rule 69 (gross misconduct) for physically threatening a photographer. Ainslie felt the photographer's boat's wake had prevented him from passing a competitor.[12]

Other significant results[edit]

America's Cup[edit]

Sir Ben Ainslie with fans in 2014

At the beginning of 2005 Ainslie worked in the role of tactician in the New Zealand-based Team New Zealand who were preparing to compete in the challenger selection process to win the right to Challenge for the 32nd America's Cup. In May 2005 Ainslie took the decision to relinquish the role of tactician and focus on improving his match racing skills as helmsman of the 'B' boat used to practise and tune the race boat helmed by Dean Barker.

Ainslie figureheaded a British challenge for the Cup alongside Sir Keith Mills the team was named Team Origin. However this challenge withdrew without competing following a period of discussion regarding the future format of the event.

For the 2013 America's Cup, Ainslie was recruited as a tactician by Oracle Team USA, as a replacement for John Kostecki during an Oracle practice session on 11 September 2013.[14] On 12 September, the following day, he replaced Kostecki going into race six of the 2013 America's Cup.[15] His Oracle Team USA beat Team New Zealand in the America's Cup decider in San Francisco on 25 September.[16]

In January 2012, Ben Ainslie announced the formation of a team to compete in the America's Cup, called Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR). His team competed in the AC45 class of the 2011–13 America's Cup World Series,[17] 2014 Extreme Sailing Series and set a multihull record for the Round the Island Race. The team won the 2015–16 America's Cup World Series and is preparing for the 2017 America's Cup.

In February 2017 Ainslie talked about the America's Cup and looked back on his Olympic success, "It hasn’t all been glory..There have been a few bumps down the road. But yes, I’m not very good at not achieving the goals I set out."[18]

World Match Racing Tour[edit]

In December 2010, Ainslie finished in first place in the World Match Racing Tour, and is the 2010 ISAF Match Racing Champion.[citation needed]

The Extreme Sailing Series[edit]

In January 2014, it was announced that Ainslie would compete in the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series as part of his preparation for the America's Cup. The eight-race event will see him compete in a 40 feet (12 m) multi-hull boat.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Ainslie lives in Lymington, and belongs to the Royal Lymington Yacht Club. He is coached by David Howlett, who raced a Finn dinghy at the 1976 Summer Olympics. He supports Chelsea.[5]

In August 2014, Ainslie was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian expressing their hope that Scotland would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom in September's referendum on that issue.[20]

On 20 December 2014, Ainslie married former Sky Sports News presenter Georgie Thompson.[21] The couple have a daughter, born in 2016.[22][23]

Awards and honours[edit]


  1. ^ "Ainslie's ambition: Sailing hero takes on America's Cup challenge"
  2. ^ a b Morris, Steven (5 August 2012). "Ben Ainslie wins his fourth Olympic gold medal for Great Britain". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  3. ^ McEvoy, Jonathan (5 August 2012). "London 2012 Olympics: Sailing – Ben Ainslie wins gold". Mail Online. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  4. ^ "Ben Ainslie wins fourth Olympics sailing gold medal". Archived from the original on 5 August 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Elaine Bunting (5 August 2012). "20 things about Ben Ainslie". Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  6. ^ "Ben Ainslie profile". Sailor Biography. ISAF UK. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
  7. ^ Steven Morris (18 May 2012). "Ben Ainslie's Olympic torch run sets course for London Games". The Guardian.
  8. ^ "About Ben". Retrieved 6 November 2011.
  9. ^ "Ben Ainslie Starts the Torch Relay". The BBC. 19 May 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  10. ^ "Ben Ainslie to carry British flag at Olympics closing ceremony". BBC Sport. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  11. ^ Finn World Website Press Release Archived 18 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 11 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Ben Ainslie disqualified from World Championships after TV row". The Guardian. 10 December 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  13. ^ Monday; June 2004, 14; Zeal, 4:51 pm Press Release: Emirates Team New. "Grant Dalton introduces the team - Scoop News".
  14. ^ Ben Ainslie. "Ainslie in tactician's role for practice session". Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  15. ^ "Ben Ainslie Steers America's Cup Comeback",; retrieved 24 September 2013.
  16. ^ "Ben Ainslie's USA beat Team New Zealand in decider". BBC Sport. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  17. ^ Ainslie defends Oracle cup role, Independent, 11 January 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  18. ^ Cary, Tom (8 February 2017). "Sir Ben Ainslie makes plans for America's Cup glory on paradise island". The Telegraph.
  19. ^ "Sir Ben Ainslie to compete in Extreme Sailing Series". BBC Sport. 8 January 2014 – via
  20. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". 7 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  21. ^ "Ben Ainslie Marries". YBW. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  22. ^ "Always Sunny in Ainslie Land". 26 July 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  23. ^ Emily Sheridan (21 July 2016). "'Our little star has arrived': Sir Ben Ainslie and wife Georgie welcome their first child Bellatrix". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  24. ^ University of Chichester (26 September 2013). "Honorary Graduate Ben Ainslie inspires America's Cup Win". University of Chichester. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  25. ^ "No. 56070". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2000. p. 13.
  26. ^ "No. 57509". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2004. p. 9.
  27. ^ University of Exeter (2015). "Honorary Graduates of the University". University of Exeter. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  28. ^ Matt Smith (14 September 2007). "University to honour Olympian Ben". Southern Daily Echo. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  29. ^ Karenza Morton (12 December 2008). "Vote for Ben !". The Daily Sail. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  30. ^ BBC Sport: Bradley Wiggins wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year; accessed 17 December 2012.
  31. ^ "No. 58929". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2008. p. 7.
  32. ^ "No. 60367". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2012. p. 2.
  33. ^ "Knights Bachelor" (PDF). Cabinet Office. 29 December 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2012.

External links[edit]