The 34th America's Cup edition in 2013 is to be sailed on Francisco Bay and Ben Ainslie, 34, Britain's most successful Olympic sailor, is set to become a full time member of Oracle Racing.
Before then, Ainslie will compete with his new team, Ben Ainslie Racing, on the America’s Cup World Series circuit.
Ainslie has won three gold medals and one silver at four Olympic Games. In August he’ll represent England in the Finn class at the London 2012 Olympics where he’ll be aiming for a fourth consecutive gold medal before switching his attention to the America’s Cup.
'For me, as a British sailor, London 2012 is an incredible opportunity to race on home waters in the Olympics,' said Ainslie, a 10-time world champion. 'My focus is 100 percent on that.'
At the conclusion of the World Series regattas in 2013, Ainslie will switch to Oracle Racing full time as an afterguard member, alongside the likes of four-time Cup winner and team CEO Russell Coutts, skipper Jimmy Spithill, tactician John Kostecki, two-time Olympic silver medalist Darren Bundock and four-time Laser world champion Tom Slingsby.
'This is a fantastic opportunity to join Oracle Racing,' Ainslie said.
'I have a huge amount of respect for the team, for Russell, Jimmy and everyone involved. With the direction the America’s Cup has taken in the past few years it’s important that Oracle Racing win again and the event continues down the path that it’s taken. That’s why I’m keen to join Oracle Racing to help the team retain the Cup.'
Coutts, the Finn gold medalist at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, welcomed Ainslie to the team by noting the physicality required for both the Finn and AC45.
'I think Ben’s going to adapt really well to America’s Cup catamarans. They’re very physical boats and the Finn is an extremely physical boat as well,' said Coutts.
'It doesn’t matter if you don’t have multihull experience or not. If you look at the fleet standings, the good sailors are coming through and learning how to sail these mutihulls. I think the boat suits an aggressive style of sailing and Ben’s experience in the Finn class will carryover nicely.'
'The AC45 is very fast, very athletic, which speaks to the guys,' said Ainslie.
'They’re seriously hard work to sail well. The next America’s Cup will be all about fitness, endurance and a proper sailing race.'
America's Cup website