Leader of Ineos Team UK is ready to take on Italy’s Luna Rossa in the Prada Cup final with the bigger prize in his sights
Christmas wasn’t a happy one for Ben Ainslie and his Ineos Team UK. They are in Auckland, New Zealand, trying to win the America’s Cup, the oldest trophy in world sport, taken from British waters under Queen Victoria’s nose in 1851 and never won back. But in the preliminary America’s Cup World Series, Ineos Team UK was embarrassingly off the pace. They lost to the Americans, failed to even finish against the Italians and lost to the Kiwis. Then they lost to them all again. Six races, nul points.
“It was dire,” says Ainslie. “There’s no sugar-coating it, we were in a real mess performance-wise. But the most important thing is the team stuck together, everyone working together. A bit like not losing a dressing room in football, you’ve got to keep everyone together, you can’t allow any finger-pointing.” Ainslie might have lost six races, but he hung on to that dressing room.