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The Rurbanist: Q&A With Ben Ainslie

Ben Ainslie on lockdown lessons, the America’s Cup and credit card roulette

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What did you learn during lockdown?

That you have to take each day as it comes. It has been impossible to predict what is going to happen next, so learning to take a step back and taking everything day by day has been a great lesson.

How have you been keeping busy?

The America’s Cup never sleeps and neither we, nor our competitors, have missed a beat. It’s imperative to keep pushing and even throughout lockdown our design team in particular stepped it up a gear to keep our second and eventual race boat for the America’s Cup on track.

What are you looking forward to this autumn?

My team is very much looking forward to arriving in Auckland, launching our race boat for the America’s Cup, Britannia II, and setting sail in the Waitemata Harbour.

What’s one of your daily rituals?

I FaceTime my wife and three-year-old daughter, Bellatrix, for their breakfast each morning.

Favourite secret place in London for a good night out?

A friend of mine has a garage he’s done up in Chelsea that’s a pretty good spot for a drink. Failing that, Loulou’s in Hertford Street.

Best thing a cabbie has ever said to you?

‘You look like that sailor bloke, Ainsley Harriott?’

What item in your wardrobe do you wear the most?

Belstaff’s AC Trialmaster jacket. It’s pretty cool to have such an iconic British brand designing your team kit.

Belstaff x INEOS Team UK Trialmaster jacket, £450.

What is the last book you read and what did you think of it?

The Bonfire of the Vanities. I love New York and it’s still as hectic as it was in the ’80s.

What has been the most valuable piece of advice you have ever received?

Work with people who are smarter than you, and you might achieve something special.

What’s your favourite game?

Credit card roulette in a restaurant always creates some excitement. If it’s a big crowd then the stakes can get quite high!

What are Saturday afternoons made for?

Walking the dogs and watching a movie in front of the fire.

What’s your signature dish and who would you most like to cook it for?

Beef Wellington for Gordon Ramsay – it would be fun listening to him ranting at the pastry chef (me).

Where do you go to lose yourself?

To sea. It’s one of the few places where nobody can control what you’re doing.

Ben Ainslie is an ambassador for Belstaff. The America’s Cup collection launches in October 2020.


Interview: Max Irons / Interview: Gala Gordon