Ben Ainslie urges investors to back British America's Cup challenge
Four-times Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie is to hold talks within "a matter of weeks" over the possibility of a British entry into sailing's America's Cup.
Ainslie, who grew up and learned to sail in Cornwall, was the strategist for Oracle Team USA as they remarkably recovered from 8-1 down to beat Emirates Team New Zealand 9-8 and win this year's America's Cup in San Francisco, California.
Ainslie spoke in the aftermath of the Team USA win about his wish to repeat his victory with a British team, but has since emphasised that there is no time to waste if he is to make that dream a reality.
"It's a matter of weeks, literally," he told BBC Sport. "I'm heading back to the UK, I've got some key meetings with some of these people, and we'll talk pretty honestly about whether we think it's realistic to get a campaign together.
"None of us want to do it unless we've got a good shot at winning it. Otherwise, we're just wasting everyone's time."
There has not been a British victory in the competition's 162-year history and Ainslie acknowledged that serious investment is needed if he is to help change that.
"It's the cost of securing the talent," the 36-year-old said. "It's a relatively small world, the America's Cup world, and there are probably four or five guys out there who can design a winning boat.
"If you don't have one of those guys then, realistically, you are probably not going to win, and obviously the key sailors as well."
Ainslie was involved along with millionaire entrepreneur Sir Keith Mills in a prospective British entry for this year's event. Mills, though, pulled his funding out of the project over safety concerns – which were sadly borne out by the death this summer of Ainslie's fellow Olympian Andrew Simpson after Sweden's Artemis Racing team, of which he was a part, capsized during training in California.
"He proved to be right, the boats are dangerous," said Ainslie. "Tragically, we saw that with the loss of Andrew Simpson, which was just the most terrible time for all of us involved.
"The whole sailing world was rocked by that, but we [Team USA] thought that maybe Bart was looking down on us the other day, we were 8-1 down and we needed a bit of inspiration and I'm sure he played his part."