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Posted by on Jun 22, 2014 in News and Events, Sailboat Racing, Sailing, UK, US |

America’s Cup Battle: USA vs. Britain?

Ben Ainslie has officially thrown his hat into the America's Cup ring.

Ben Ainslie wants to bring the America’s Cup back to its birthplace so badly that he’s enlisted royal support to help achieve this lofty goal. So wouldn’t it be great if the 2017 Cup proved to be an epic battle between the two nations that started this whole thing, way back in 1851?

The first America's Cup took place in 1851 between the USA and Great Britain. Painting by Samuel Colman - Metropolitan Museum

The first America’s Cup took place in 1851 between the USA and Great Britain. Painting by Samuel Colman – Metropolitan Museum

The world has changed quite a bit politically and socially over the past few centuries, but there’s still quite a rivalry between Great Britain and her former colony—at least in sailing. About the same time that US dominance of Olympic sailing waned, the British Sailing Team began to bring home an impressive number of medals (and Ainslie led that charge with a personal total of five). For the most recent summer Olympics of 2012, when the Brits “only” won one gold on home waters (Ainslie again), that was one more than Team USA could manage. (Read No USA Medals in Sailing; Match Racing Shows Olympic Potential for a replay of the gory details.)

But on the unbalanced field of the America’s Cup, we’ve still got an advantage over the Brits. US-based team and official defender Oracle gets to write the rules, and they don’t have to be fair to anyone else. We should take full advantage of this, even if it means insulting a few Dukes and Duchesses along the way. And even if “US-based” doesn’t exactly mean “US-only.” (The 2013 Oracle Team USA included just one lone American passport, and… Ainslie. Him again.)

boats.com UK editor Gael Pawson says that Ainslie’s plan to win the Cup back for Britain and bring it home to the waters where it was born is “beyond tough, but if anyone can achieve such a feat one feels that he can.” Considering the guy has five Olympic medals, an America’s Cup victory, and a knighthood, it’s not surprising that Gael has such faith in Sir Ben.

Still, maybe I should test her resolve.

Gael, would you care to make a wager?