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Yachting: Ainslie confident on British team for America's Cup

Four-time Olympic champion Ben Ainslie said on Friday that he is confident of forming a British team to challenge for a first ever victory at the 2017 America's Cup.

SAINT PETERSBURG: Four-time Olympic champion Ben Ainslie said on Friday that he is confident of forming a British team to challenge for a first ever victory at the 2017 America's Cup.

The 37-year-old competed on the successful Oracle Team USA that won the America's Cup in dramatic fashion last September over Team New Zealand.

The venue of the race, which dates back to 1851 and was staged in San Francisco last year, has yet to be determined.

Ainslie officially launched his campaign on June 10, in the presence of Prince William's wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge in London, and is currently in Saint Petersburg, competing for his J P Morgan BAR team in the fourth round of the Extreme Sailing Series which features 12 metre catamarans.

"We are aiming at a £80 million (100 million euros) budget but it's not secured yet," said Ainslie of his America's Cup ambitions.

"It will be 40 per cent private and 60 per cent commercial and we already have some commercial partners.

"We still need a title sponsor but I'm positive we can do it and we're in strong negotiations at the moment, I am very hopeful."

He added: "Most teams don't wrap up their budgets until the last year."

When asked about the model of boat, a 20 metre catamaran known as the AC62 that has been chosen for competition, Ainslie was optimistic.

"I think the AC62 is a great boat and we're very happy with the class rules, it's great to see efforts to reduce the costs and it will be a very spectacular boat.

"We've been working on the AC62 project for some time with our design team and the next 18 months will be decisive."

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