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The triple Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie shares his top venues & events
When the whole team did really well at the Beijing Olympics last year, we got everyone together and had a party at the hotel in Qingdao. We were all pretty dehydrated as we’d been training so hard, so it didn’t take much alcohol to get us all going – Champagne, cocktails and the local Tsingtao beer were all in plentiful supply.
The 2007 Americas Cup in Valencia. It’s a global sporting event with loads of history and glamour – the sailing equivalent of an F1 grand prix – and it’s great to be a part of it.
The Gansevoort in New York City is really cool. We spent a day there on the way to a regatta in Bermuda last year. It’s got a great rooftop bar and it’s right in the middle of the meatpacking district.
Buckingham Palace was pretty special when I went to pick up my CBE. We all filed in to the Investiture Room and bowed to the Queen, had a quick chat and were ushered out again. It was all over pretty quickly!
The British team are good fun. Iain Percy, my Olympic team-mate (and Beijing gold medallist), is pretty wild. He knows how to strut his stuff on the dance floor.
A group of 10 of us were cooked for by Albert Roux at Brasserie Roux in Piccadilly a few years back. That was pretty special.
My favourite party food would have to be beef Wellington followed by Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food.
It takes more than a good band to get me on the dance floor – I’ve got no rhythm!
BEST of the Best
I had a big party for my 30th, just at a local bar. I rented the whole place out and got about 100 family and friends together. We had a Moroccan theme and a jazz musician. It was quite low key but great fun.
Ben Ainslie, winner of three consecutive gold medals in Sydney and Beijing, is Britain’s greatest Olympic sailor. He was honoured Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List. As skipper of the Britain’s Team Origin, his next challenge is to win 33rd America’s Cup Match in February 2010 in Ras al-Khaimah, United Arab Emirates. His autobiography Close to the Wind (Random House) is out now and he’s available for after-dinner and motivational speaking through Into the Blue (tel: 01983 247 286).
This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, Autumn 2009