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Ainslie ready to ‘get the job done’ as first race nears

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Ready to go: Ainslie

The America’s Cup World Series curtain raiser in Portsmouth will be a proud occasion for Land Rover BAR team principal and skipper Sir Ben Ainslie.

It will mark the Olympic hero’s first opportunity to lead a British team into battle in America’s Cup competition and the two times winner of the King Edward VII Gold Cup in Bermuda is pumped up for the big occasion.

“It’s the team’s first competitive outing against the other contenders for the 35th America’s Cup, and we get to do it on home waters in front of a home crowd,” Ainslie said.

“The America’s Cup started here in 1851 and we’ve had a few shots over the past 164 years but never come that close to winning. It’s important to us to get that job done now.”

In order to “get the job done”, Ainslie will have to beat Oracle Team USA, defenders of the ‘Auld Mug’, who he helped to victory in 2013.

Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, is quite familiar with the threat his former team-mate poses.

“Ben is a really good guy. You meet him on the shore and he’s very courteous, well mannered,” Spithill, the youngest skipper to win the America’s Cup, said. “On the water though, you flick a switch. He becomes very, very aggressive and he gets the results.”

Ainslie and his team-mates have been warming up for the upcoming regatta sparring on the Solent in the one design AC45F catamaran with a new look Emirates Team New Zealand.

“It was awesome to line up against Ben and his guys,” Glenn Ashby, the New Zealand team’s sailing director, said. “This new era of America’s Cup style racing requires not only great yachting prowess but an extremely high level of fitness, strength, technique, timing and teamwork.”

Joining Land Rover BAR, Oracle and Team New Zealand at the start line in Portsmouth next week will be Artemis Racing, Softbank Team Japan and Groupama Team France.

The regatta will consist of four fleet races to be held on July 25 and 26. Bermuda will also host the World Series from October 16 to 18, with all racing to be held in the Great Sound.

<p>Dinghy selection</p>

The Endeavour Community Sailing Programme will use the O’Pen BIC dinghy as it looks to inspire the Island’s youngsters to take up sailing.

The programme will operate from bases on the eastern and western ends of the Island, beginning late in the summer.

“The O’Pen BIC is a very fun boat to sail. It’s light, it’s fast, it’s exciting and that makes it an ideal platform to get children hooked on the sport,” Tom Herbert-Evans, who manages the Endeavour Programme, said.

“If we can make their first experience on the water a thrill, they’ll keep coming back.”