London (AFP) – Fresh from masterminding Oracle Team USA's stunning America's Cup victory, four-time Olympic champion Ben Ainslie says he is due to open talks about entering a British team in the race.
Oracle stormed back from 8-1 down to beat Team New Zealand 9-8 in the America's Cup in San Francisco earlier this week after Ainslie was installed as team tactician.
In the aftermath of the race, Ainslie said he wanted to repeat his victory with a British team and he revealed on Sunday that moves to achieve that ambition have already been made.
"It's a matter of weeks, literally," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
"I'm heading back to the UK on Monday. I've got some key meetings with some of these people and we'll talk pretty honestly about whether we think it's realistic to get a campaign together.
"None of us want to do it unless we've got a good shot of winning it. Otherwise, we're just wasting everyone's time."
However, Ainslie is also conscious that serious investment will need to be forthcoming for Britain to secure a first victory in the competition's 162-year history.
"It's the cost of securing the talent," he said.
"It's a relatively small world, the America's Cup world, and there are probably four or five guys out there who can design a winning boat.
"If you don't have one of those guys then realistically, you are probably not going to win, and obviously the key sailors as well."
Ainslie had been working with millionaire entrepreneur Keith Mills on a British entry for this year's race.
However, Mills withdrew his funding over safety concerns, which were borne out when Ainslie's fellow British Olympian Andrew Simpson was killed during training with Sweden's Artemis Racing Team.
"He (Mills) proved to be right. The boats are dangerous," said Ainslie.
"Tragically, we saw that with the loss of Andrew Simpson, which was just the most terrible time for all of us involved. The whole sailing world was rocked by that."
Ainslie responded favourably to a suggestion that any prospective British boat could be named 'Bart', which was Simpson's nickname, after the cartoon character.
"That wouldn't be a bad start, would it?" he said.
"We (Team USA) thought that maybe Bart was looking down on us the other day. We were 8-1 down and we needed a bit of inspiration and I'm sure he played his part."