America's Cup - Sir Ben Ainslie Inspires Comeback of the Year

Sir Ben Ainslie inspires one of the greatest comebacks in world sport.

In only the third time in the regatta's 162-year history, the competition was decided by a winner takes all final in what was to prove to be one of the most thrilling and unexpected events in world sport.

Oracle Team USA came close to defeat early on, going down 1-8 to New Zealand, the pre-Cup favourites, after being docked two points before the contest even began, but the holders won eight straight races to triumph 9-8 in a thrilling climax to the event.

The New Zealander's early wins in the competition forced Oracle to modify their boat and call up Sir Ainslie from the warm up crew in place of the American sailing veteran John Kostecki.

Ainslie was handed the role of team tactician for Oracle and is considered to have been monumental in the teams turnaround and the 10 wins from the subsequent 14 races.

On Tuesday, the Oracle team secured its sixth and seventh consecutive victories to level the score at 8-8, allowing for the epic showdown.

Ainslie combined superbly with Oracle's Australian skipper James Spithill and strategist Tom Slingsby (also Australian), to drag the syndicate back from the brink in the most remarkable turnaround in the event's history.

This years cup unfortunately had its share of controversy. The tragic death of another British Olympic sailor marked the low point for the event. Andrew “Bart” Simpson, 36, a member of the Swedish Artemis crew, drowned after his team’s AC72 flipped during a training session. His death led to the introduction of a package of new safety measures, including upper wind-speed limits and personal breathing apparatus.

Critics also pointed to spiralling costs, and the AC72s were criticised before the competition not just for potential safety fears but also the cost. Each team is reported to have spent $100million to take part in this prestigious event, with only three teams able to compete in the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger Series with Oracle. Artemis Racing (Sweden), Emirates Team (New Zealand) and Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy).

As winners, Oracle will decide on the format, venue and timing of the 35th America's Cup.