Ben Ainslie quits America's Cup

The double Olympic medallist tells Andy Rice why his heart is set on winning another medal in Athens
Ben Ainslie's departure from the One World America's Cup syndicate has come as a bolt out of the blue to the sailing world, but it was something that had been playing on the Laser Olympic Champion's mind for some time. madfor sailing caught up with Ainslie just hours before he was due to fly out of Auckland back to the UK, to contemplate his return to Olympic campaigning. "It wasn't really working out for me," said Ainslie of his time with the Seattle-based challenge. "It wasn't really getting me where I wanted to be. I was thinking of what else I would do and that was probably going to be an Olympic campaign. If I left the decision any longer then I was going to be leaving it too late to do any good at the Olympics, so it came to a head that way. "It's just a matter of where I am in my sailing career. I'm still relatively young and felt perhaps smaller boats are at this stage more of a challenge for me." For most sailors the chance of being part of a top-flight America's Cup challenge would be a dream come true, especially when you're just 24 years old. And Ainslie doesn't deny he felt privileged to be part of the set-up. "I was doing the traveller and strategy, going up the rig in lighter breeze to spot the wind. Whilst I'm not scared of heights it was quite frightening going up there at times, having luffing matches with spinnakers. In light winds when the battens don't pop through, you've got to swing round and punch the battens with your body weight, there's quite a technique to it." The most eventful occasion was when the two One World boats were going hell for leather at each other, with Ainslie