Ben Ainslie: Close to the Wind: Autobiography of Britain's Greatest Olympic Sailor
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Having a sailing career since he was eight, Ben Ainslie, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist, has won eight World and European Championships, been crowned ISAF World Sailor of the Year twice, and won British Yachtsman of the Year four times.
Atlanta Games. I simply couldn’t make the transition back. I’d just had the experience of being absolutely focussed for the Olympics and making every minute count. Now, after being away for a year, and growing up a hell of a lot in that time, I returned to college and found myself sitting around in a classroom for half an hour while the teacher had to argue with some idiot who hadn’t done his homework. It infuriated me. I thought to myself: ‘This is just a waste of time. I don’t have the time in
Russell Coutts.’ It was, and it turned out that these sailors were taking part in a pro-am regatta. We sailed into the harbour, and discovered all these famous America’s Cup sailors. We stopped off and had a drink with the guys. I remember talking to Paul Cayard, who had started his America’s Cup career when he was about 19, and had been competing for thirty, forty years. The most important thing I gleaned from him was that in the America’s Cup you have to be in a competitive team. It’s hard
difficult time for the selectors. I had been away concentrating on the America’s Cup, although I’d kept my hand in. Ed Wright was focussing purely on the Finn, and doing quite well. Ultimately, the RYA attempted to be as fair as possible, which I think they were. They decided that the Sydney International Regatta in December would be the main event of the selection trials which would lead to qualification for the Olympics. If it was still not possible after that for the selectors to make a
personal level, I’ve always been pretty good at dealing with that and not letting it affect my performance. Off the water, I worry about things as much as the next person. Things can prey on my mind if I’m not happy about something. But when I go racing, I’m very good at switching off from those issues. It’s amazing how the mind can do it. Once racing has finished, then you revert to your normal self, with the same weaknesses as everyone else. As it was, the scheduling of that holding camp in
Laser European championships 1998 – GOLD Laser European championships 1999 – GOLD Laser European championships 2000 – GOLD Laser European championships 2002 – GOLD Finn European championships 2003 – GOLD Finn European championships 2005 – GOLD Finn European championships 2008 – GOLD Finn European championships Youth Titles 1992 – 1st UK Optimist national championships 1994 – SILVER ISAF Youth world championships 1995 – GOLD ISAF Youth world championships (Laser class) 1995 – Ist RYA