Ben Ainslie catamaran sailor

Photo: On Edition
Ben Ainslie on the Extreme Sailing Series, the America's Cup of course his Finn campaign
Ben Ainslie has just completed a three regatta stint on the Extreme Sailing Series as skipper of Oman Air following the departure of Sidney Gavignet, who will be taking up the reigns of the Omani MOD70 trimaran when it is launched next year. At the launch of the Team Volvo app on Wednesday Ainslie told us his catamaran debut represented a break from eight months of intensive Finn sailing, building up to Skandia Sail for Gold and the pre-Olympics. It was also an opportunity to try his hand at some multihull racing. “I thought that was the perfect environment to go in at a high level of racing and hopefully do a good job for the team, but also learn a lot of new skills - the physical aspect of sailing the boat and understanding the no-go zones and all that side of it. Tactically I learned a lot. The downwind tactics are very different from even high performance monohulls, positioning the boat, etc. Obviously the manoeuvring is slow so understanding that and the trade-offs between an extra tack or gybe as opposed to not taking a shift, which are very very different to all the racing I have done before. I did learn a lot and enjoyed that aspect of it.” Since there are plenty of rumours at the moment that Oman Sail is one of the teams contemplating participation in the 33rd America’s Cup or at least the AC World Series, it doesn’t take too much brainpower to join the dots. Ainslie acknowledges that after the Olympic Games next August he would like to sign with a Cup team, but of a possible Omani challenge with him in charge he says: “I haven’t spoken to them about that. They are a great team and they could absolutely do fine with