Some interesting facts about Ben Ainslie – such as his favourite meal is beef wellington, he supports Chelsea FC and other facts
Here are a few things you may or may not know about Britain’s great sailing sailor, multiple Olympic Gold medallist and America’s Cup challenger.
1. He began sailing an Optimist as a 9-year-old at Restronguet near Falmouth.
2. His father Roddy raced round the world in the Whitbread Race in 1973, four years before Ben was born.
3. His mother, Sue, has also been a keen sailor.
4. Ben Ainslie’s wife, Lady Ainslie, is better known as Georgie Thompson and is a TV and radio presenter.
5. In July 2016 they had their first child, a girl they named Bellatrix.
6. They have a dog called Biggles.
7. Ben Ainslie’s nicknames are Beano and Big Ben.
8. He drives a Range Rover Sport (but used to have an Aston Martin for playdays).
9. He supports Chelsea FC.
10. Ainslie likes playing golf.
11. Ben has been learning to fly and has an ambition to get a pilot’s licence.
12. His favourite meal is beef wellington.
13. He has been given three honours by the Queen, an MBE a CBE and a knighthood.
14. He lives near Hampton Court, west of London. When based at the team’s HQ in Portsmouth, he commutes every day. A driver picks him up and leaves him back home; he says it’s the only time in the day he gets to look at his email.
15. He had to bulk up with 14kg of muscle to race in the powerful Finn class in the 2012 Olympics and has since shed it and is down to 82kg.
16. His longest running sailing friend is Iain Percy (below), who came through junior and Olympic programmes with him as a teenager and is now skipper of rival America’s Cup team Artemis.
17. His first experience of the America’s Cup was in 2002 when he joined the One World team.
18. He turned down an opportunity to race as crew or tactician in the America’s Cup on Team New Zealand in 2005, deciding instead to gain experience as a helmsman on the ‘B’ boat.
19. He owns a Truly Classic 65, a beautiful neo classic ketch designed by Andre Hoek, which he named Rita. (All his Olympic boats were called Rita).
20. He belongs to the Royal Lymington Yacht Club and the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes.
21. He has won the Yachtsman of the Year award five times.
22. He’s the most decorated sailor in Olympic history with four gold medals and one silver. His first one, a silver, was in 1996 when he was aged 19.
23. Ainslie was bullied at school for having a skin condition due to his allergy to the sun.
24. Before heading up the British America’s Cup team Land Rover BAR, Ben was involved in other campaigns: the OneWorld Challenge in 2001; he was tactician for Team New Zealand in 2005; worked for Oracle Team USA in 2013.
25. Ben took took over as tactician on Oracle Team USA part way through the in the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco, when he was credited with a major role in the turnaround that won them the Cup – so although now rivals skippers, he and Jimmy Spithill have worked closely together.
26. He has a famous temper on the water – for example, he was involved in a war of words with fellow Finn sailors Jonas Hogh-Christensen and Pieter-Jan Postma during the 2012 Olympics when he claimed the two were ganging up against him.