Champion UK sailor Sir Ben Ainslie came close to quitting the sport after the death of a friend and fellow British Olympian at the America's Cup.

Ainslie helped guide the United States to victory over New Zealand in the America's Cup last year, overturning a seemingly insurmountable Kiwi lead of eight wins to one to steal the trophy 9-8.

Ainslie, 36, told UK radio show Desert Island Discs that he considered retiring when Andrew 'Bart' Simpson was killed in May last year during a practice run for the Cup in San Francisco Bay.

"For a while I wasn't sure if I wanted to go back to San Francisco and keep training for The America's Cup," Ainsley, who has won four Olympic golds, told host Kirsty Young.


Simpson, 35, who won gold for Britain at the 2008 Olympics, was killed when his catamaran capsized.

Ainslie, who was a member of the rival American team that later sailed to victory, said he came to terms with his grief when he realised that his friend would have wanted him to carry on.