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Ben Ainslie, Britain's best ever sailor & three times Olympic Gold medalist spills the beans in his autobiography 'Close to the Wind'

12th October 2009

Ben Ainslie CBE, was born in 1977 in Macclesfield and started sailing at the age of four.  Ben first competed at the age of ten and has won successive Golds at the last three Olympics and plans to go for a fourth at the 2012 Olympics.  He is the greatest British Olympic sailor ever and a national hero.  He was awarded Yachtsman of the Year in 1995, 1999, 2000 and 2002.

The knife-edge decisions, adrenaline rushes, extreme weather, bitter rivalries, heart-stopping races - all in a day's work for sailing's superman' Ben Ainslie.  In 'Close to the Wind' Ben reveals the truth behind his awesome achievement. Admitting to fierce rivalries, especially with Brazilian Robert Scheidt, who robbed a nineteen-year-old Ben of gold in his first Olympics. In Olympic races he is alone, in his tiny boat, channelling aggression and plotting tactics.

However, the America's Cup offers a complete contrast. As a helmsman for the Cup - sailing's glamorous, lucrative Formula One-equivalent, Ben can only succeed by precision team-work. From his proudest moment representing Team GB, to one tough decision that almost risked destroying his career, 'Close to the Wind' is a unique insight into the man who cannot be second best. It shows what really takes place in the white heat of competition and lifts the lid on this toughest of sports.

Of the book Ben said: "‘Close to the Wind’ covers the whole of my career to date from youth sailor, through four Olympic Games and right up to the current day Team Origin Americas Cup campaign, this includes the stories of the great races I’ve been involved in and what really takes place in the heat of the battle. 

“I had been asked to write a book a number of times, however it wasn’t something I felt naturally inclined to do then after Beijing I was offered another chance and this time it felt right.  I decided to write it in a way that puts across a side of the sport that the general public doesn’t really get to hear about. 

“My hopes are that by giving an insight into the everyday regime of being a professional sailor it will help debunk some of the myths that sometimes attach themselves to the sport, such an elitists and being non-professional.  I also hope by promoting sailing in a positive way it can inspire young athletes to take up a sport that has given me so many brilliant moments.” 


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