Ainslie: Win was career highlight
Sir Ben Ainslie acknowledged inspiring Oracle Team USA to one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history by winning the America's Cup ranks as a career highlight.
The four-time Olympic champion helped his team recover from an 8-1 deficit to record a 9-8 success over Emirates Team New Zealand in the 34th America's Cup with a thrilling victory in the deciding race in San Francisco Bay on Wednesday night.
Asked if it was a career high, he told Radio 5 Live: "In sailing terms, certainly.
"At 8-1 down we had absolutely no margin for error but the team kept believing and we got on a roll and in the end we were unstoppable.
"I grew up down in Falmouth in Cornwall, we had an America's Cup team down there in 1987 and I remember as a kid watching them training and preparing and thinking about maybe one day being involved with the America's Cup.
"To be part of a winning America's Cup team is for me personally part of a lifelong dream."
Ainslie was drafted in as tactician, in place of John Kostecki, from the warm-up crew as his team looked to get back in the contest and was one of the catalysts of the turnaround which stunned the Kiwis.
"It was a pretty big shift," the Briton said on BBC One. "It was a big call for the management to make, but I gelled really well with Jimmy Spithill, the skipper of the team, we got stuck into the challenge and we turned things around.
"It's quite unbelievable to think where we were 10 days ago, to come back from that."
His role as tactician, which made him responsible for the route the boat took on the course, was different to his usual position as helmsman.
Ainslie dedicated the victory to his late friend Andrew Simpson.
British Olympian Simpson, known as Bart, was killed in a training accident in May, an event which so shocked the sport that there were questions over whether the 34th America's Cup would even take place.
"I finished the race today, one of the most amazing races I've ever been a part of, but myself and I think a couple of other guys on the boat, our thoughts are with Andrew and his family," he said on Sky Sports News. "That race today was for him and he would have loved it."
Ainslie believes the thrilling racing from the pair of state-of-the-art catamarans has won sailing a new set of fans.
"It's been great for our sport," he added. "To see these boats tearing around at 50mph, the effort that's gone into the TV production and the footage that we've seen and these two amazing teams racing against each other I think is something we've never seen in our sport.
"It sets things up very nicely for the future, it's very exciting."
And Ainslie wants that future to involve Britain.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "The America's Cup started in the UK in 1851, we've not had it back since.
"The future for the America's Cup is bright. The Australians, Kiwis and even the Swiss have won it - we've not and we should put that right."