Sir Ben Ainslie vows to return for another America's Cup mission

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Sir Ben Ainslie is sailing’s most successful Olympian
Sir Ben Ainslie is sailing’s most successful Olympian
9 June 2017 12:00PM

Sir Ben Ainslie has vowed to come back strongly after Land Rover BAR were eliminated from the America's Cup.

The 40-year-old's dream of bringing the cup back to Britain this month was ended on Thursday by a 5-2 defeat to Emirates Team New Zealand in a best-of-nine challenger play-off semi-final in Bermuda.

Despite the loss, Ainslie was pleased with the progress his team demonstrated.

"I couldn't be prouder of the team. It has been an amazing journey for us," Ainslie told americascup.com.

"What we've achieved now is phenomenal really. We may have bowed out of the competition and ultimately failed to bring the America's Cup home but we knew it was going to be incredibly tough.

"We gave it our best attempt and certainly, where this team has come from, particularly in the previous few months, is a huge credit to everyone in the team.

"We are a very proud British team and we will be back in the America's Cup."

Ainslie, meanwhile, has backed plans for the cup to become a biennial event.

The competition is currently held sporadically with the date and venue determined by the previous winner.

Martin Whitmarsh, chief executive of Land Rover BAR, wants to bring more structure to the event and his idea of staging it every two years has been backed by five of the six teams involved, with only New Zealand yet to agree.

Ainslie told Press Association Sport: "It certainly helps, and that's why we've been pivotal in supporting the framework agreement that Martin Whitmarsh has put forward.

"It's a similar situation with Formula One where they are looking for continuity and looking to try and bring more new teams in, reduce costs, so to have someone with Martin's experience in helping with those negotiations has been fantastic.

"Coming to a biennial event it's much more regular racing for the teams, fans and also avoiding this lack of continuity between events where you get this hiatus or 12 to 18 months where the format is decided for the next time.

"Hopefully we won't have that now, we'll be straight into the next series of racing."

Whitmarsh, the chief executive of McLaren between 2004 and 2013, accepts his proposals will be met with some resistance.

However, he feels change is necessary in order to aid the development of sailing.

"The opportunity for the sport is much bigger than we realise," he said.

"For us to grow a business we need to grow an audience. To grow an audience we need to have some momentum and build on this – move straight into the next one, make it simpler.

"A lot of people certainly don't agree with me, and I understand to a degree... but this sport is fast and dynamic.

"We can simplify it and try and hold this every two years."