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Ben Ainslie: Close to the Wind: Britain's Greatest Olympic Sailor [Kindle Edition]

Ben Ainslie
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Knife-edge decisions, adrenalin rushes, extreme weather, bitter rivalries, heart-stopping races – they are all in a day’s work for Ben Ainslie.

Against all odds, in the London 2012 Olympics Ben Ainslie thrillingly won a fourth successive gold medal, making him the greatest ever Olympic sailor and a British hero, chosen from many to be the flag bearer for the closing ceremony.

From his proudest moment representing Team GB, to one tough decision that almost risked destroying his career, this is a unique insight into the man who cannot let himself be second best. It shows what really takes place in the white heat of competition and lifts the lid on this toughest of sports.


Product Description


"Take it from a neutral observer: the most accomplished competitor at work in British sport today is Ben Ainslie. Chris Hoy, Lewis Hamilton and Rebecca Adlington deserve praise but the real fanfare should be reserved for Ainslie ... [He has] a combination of dedication, stamina, tactical nous and, the clincher here, a sustained level of ruthlessness rarely witnessed before in British sport" (Henry Winter Daily Telegraph)

"Sailing's superman" (The Times)

"An interesting self-portrait ... it encapsulates his personality: pleasant and unassuming off the water, ruthless on it" (Independent)

"A must-read for any sailing fan... Ben’s inside account makes for fascinating reading" (All at Sea magazine)

Book Description

Four-time Olympic Champion, ten-time World Champion, nine-time European Champion - the world's greatest ever Olympic sailor tells his story - revised and updated for paperback.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1885 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (25 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #105,057 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oppies to AC boats via the Olympics 10 Oct. 2009
Yesterday I started (and finished) reading Ben's autobiography, `Close to the Wind'. He covers, in a fairly haphazard order; his Olympic campaigns, duels with Robert Scheidt, Oppie racing, his involvement with various AC campaigns, training, his dislike of Guillaume Florent (cheating Frenchman who's good, but not good enough) and his poor performance at school. Arguably he could have left that last part out - the book's riddled with spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors. At least it proves he really did write it himself, I guess. And giving it the same title as Pete Goss' unimaginatively titled book was an odd move.

Throughout the book he's borrowed Dame Ellen's self-conscious, self-deprecating style, though thankfully he's yet to adopt the pained martyr-smile that's the Weepy One's trademark. (Or is it just wind? Should her book have been called "I've Got Wind"?) Anyway, despite all that, it's a great read if you're interested in Olympic sailing, AC sailing or what makes the finest sailor on the planet tick - and, can, cope, with, random, unnecessary, commas - and dashes - everywhere - and sentences that are, frankly, just a bit too long and feature the word - `frankly' - too often.

It would have been great if he'd called it "The Queen's going to have to Knight me in 3 Years", and written the thing via dictaphone whilst out racing when, by his own admission, he's a very different character. I'd have loved to have heard more about incidents and his attitude on the water. The last thing I want to know is that he's a nice guy too. He's obviously not when he's racing!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read 17 Dec. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had recently taken up sailing and after admiring Ben's achievements over the years, I thought I would find this interesting. I wasn't disappointed. I really enjoyed it and felt it was an honest read which showed Ben as real person rather than a self congratulating super hero which was a refreshing change.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting account 15 Jan. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading it but as he appears in his television interviews he doesn't open up as much as other sports people when giving interviews or writing their autobiographies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting stuff. 26 Oct. 2014
By Laura
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A great read. Ben does not pull any punches, he writes the same way as he sails ! Hopefully there will another book on the horizon.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Needs to be updated 25 Jan. 2015
This book needs to be updated to include the Americas Cup in San Francisco in 2013
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not amazingly written 4 Nov. 2013
By ratty
Format:Kindle Edition
As a sailor myself I was very much looking forward to reading about Ben's experience as a youth sailor. Packed with information it was a little hard to get into but after a while it became more steady going. In the book there are hundreds of flashbacks and this is probably why I found it hard to get into. Overall a decent red but not as good as his sailing abilities!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Read 11 Aug. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ben Ainslie is a recent discovery to me (thanks to the Olympics) and I was intrigued to read about the man who has won 4 Olympic Gold medals. I wanted to learn about what makes him tick. How he gets his mind into "winning" mode, etc. I'm going to be honest, it didn't quite deliver. Aside from the questionable grammar, it's been written in a very haphazard sort of way, and by that I mean, it jumps around a lot without going into too much detail. I would have loved it if Ben had gone into a little more detail.

However, upon saying that, I still found it an enjoyable read. I'm not into sailing so do not be put off reading this book if you're not a sailor.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After great sporting events new books appear, and readers are lucky that this updated autobiography first written in 2009 makes a pleasant re-appearance for those who missed his story the first time round.

Ben Ainslie is Briton's top sailing Olympian, son of the skipper of the first Whitbread Round the World race of 1973, and godson of Robin Knox-Johnson's racing friend Les Williams. He takes us from his early days on a voyage of self-discovery and a passion for the sea. It is also a review of his chameleon manners: shy, pacific on land, and wild and risk-taking on the sea, as he declared furiously during the first week of London Olympics at Weymouth, when not performing as was expected, that his rivals Hogh-Christensen and Lobert from Denmark and France had made a grave mistake to make him angry. He admits now it was a ploy at mind-games, something untried by him until then, but like all sportsmen he wanted as much of the right publicity as possible.

From his early days he has always sailed first in the Optimist class, then in the Laser, winning the World youth ISAF championships in 1995, before becoming the youngest British sailor of any Olympic squad at 18 at the Atlanta Games, taking part around Savannah. He surprised everyone after a terrible first race by coming away with the silver medal, behind the Brazilian Robert Scheidt. He did not wish simply to participate, as there was no guarantee that there would be a second chance. He wished to prove as the then great Steve Redgrave used to say, "If you don't travel to win, you're just a tourist".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I am totally satisfied. Book in very good contition
Published 7 months ago by Graham Jefferies
5.0 out of 5 stars a suprisingly interesting book
some sports biographies are in my opinion not very good but this is fascinating and well written-it gives a real insight into the drama of sailing competitions-his private life is... Read more
Published 11 months ago by C. F. Legge
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply inspiring
Couldn't put it down - a must read for all young sailors and a real inspiration to everyone, sailor or not
Published 12 months ago by Mrs Fiona Fry
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
This item arrived within estimated time, well package & in excellent condition.
This book was bought as a present & the person has very much enjoyed reading it.
Published 12 months ago by L M
5.0 out of 5 stars Nehru
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Published 13 months ago by church
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring read
Although I never made Olympic or even national status on the sailing circuit. There is a lot of what Ben talks about that I can relate to in those early days of sailing. Read more
Published 16 months ago by mark_duffy7
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
It's good to see how someone so successful has got to where they are. A good read and well written.
Published 17 months ago by Mr. K. A. Matthews
5.0 out of 5 stars Sir 'amazing' Ben
I have only reached chapter 2 and already feel part of the story. Can't wait to read the rest of it.
Published 18 months ago by Ms. D. A. Hearn
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