In one of the most memorable moments of 2013 for sports and sailing fans alike, Olympic hero Sir Ben Ainslie steered Oracle Team USA to victory in the America’s Cup.
Without entirely attributing the momentous comeback to the Great British sailor, the comeback against Team New Zealand from 8-1 down did occur once Ben joined the crew.
The 9-8 victory, and by an incredible 44 seconds in the end, showcased the tremendous ability of Ainslie as a mastermind sailing tactician. He was the first Briton in 110 years to be on board a victorious America’s Cup vessel in the match racing event – since Charlie Barr in 1903.
And that’s not the only glory he has tasted in his glittering career to date…
It’s easy to forget that he did it on the biggest stage of all earlier in his career as well, winning medals at five consecutive Olympic Games between 1996 and 2012, which included gold at the last 4.
He won silver and gold in the Laser class at Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000 before moving up to compete in the larger Finn class, scooping gold at three consecutive games.
Following triumph at Athens and Beijing, Ainslie capped it off with gold at London 2012, showcasing his tremendous sailing talent and reaffirming his place as the most successful Olympic sailor ever.
It is very easy to see that Ainslie has experienced a great level of success on the water since first sailing at the age of eight.
Ainslie attributes his success to making the least mistakes on the water when compared to his competitors and that requires dedication to various sailing training courses.
Training in the gym to build up core muscles is just as important as time on the water, as those who wish to learn how to sail will quickly find out. Strength is a key attribute that someone in Ainslie’s position needs to be able to rely on.
Before the America’s Cup, Ainslie said he was training for between three and five hours a day on the water with a further few hours in the gym.
He highlighted the importance of setting achievable targets and then working towards them and always said that the sport itself is too dynamic to be focused on any one particular aspect.
The best sailors can adapt to ever-changing weather conditions and still flourish, but Ainslie has always said it’s important to take each part of learning one step at a time.
Learning the ropes when it comes to sailing can take time and expert assistance can help to develop people into sailors capable of competing at the highest level.
Of course, sailing can also be enjoyed on a non-competitive basis but learning the basics are still seen as essential.
Alternatively, taking advantage of motor boat courses or yachting experiences can provide a slightly different type of enjoyment on the water.
A sailing portal such as the Boating Hub has plenty of help and guidance on whatever type of sailing you might wish to try, and who knows, you could follow in Ainslie’s footsteps.
To carry your nation’s flag at the closing ceremony of an Olympic Games is a remarkable achievement, and highlights the true character of someone prepared to devote his life to sailing.
While it remains to be seen what Ainslie will do next in his career, his example of dedication and hard work is certainly something that any aspiring sailor should look up to. We salute you Sir Ben!