Ben Ainslie leaves One World
Olympic Laser Gold medallist Ben Ainslie has left Peter Gilmour's OneWorld America's Cup challenger to start a Finn campaign for the 2004 Olympics.
"The last year-and-a-half being a part of OneWorld has been an amazing learning experience for me. This is a tremendous team of people from all over the world pulling together toward a common goal. Watching the whole campaign unfold has been remarkable," said Ainslie. "I have made friendships that will last a lifetime and wish the team the greatest success. I have also learned a great deal about myself and what motivates me. I realize that the world of small boat sailing, where I have spent my sailing career is where I want to put my efforts at this point in my life."
However it has been known for some time that Ainslie has not been enjoying America's Cup class sailing as much as he had hoped. On OneWorld he has spent most of his time windseeking. "He's not settled down at all with it," commented his father Roddie Ainslie. It has also not been enjoyable for Ben seeing all his former Team GBR mates up the road at GBR Challenge, but not being able to talk shop with them.
The reason Ainslie has left OneWorld now is to take up a campaign for Athens not in the Star, as he was talking about last summer - this class is already oversubscribed with British Olympic heroes such as Ian Barker and Iain Percy - but in a Finn. "I think as far as his future is concerned either he does something now or he misses the next Olympics," commented his father. "The way things are going he wouldn't have time to get good enough in the Finn."
Of Ainslie departure Gary Wright, CEO of the OneWorld syndicate commented, "We have all enjoyed having Ben be a part of our team and don't want to ever stand between one of our teammates and his personal dreams. We understand and wish him well. Ours is a team of diverse age, nationality and sailing background. When we built this team we knew we were asking certain individuals to take roles they were unaccustomed to and there would be people who would realize it wasn't quite the right fit for them. We all feel we are fortunate to have Ben as a friend and a fan as we pursue our goal of an America's Cup victory in 2003."