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Oracle Team USA call on Ainslie
Great Britain's four-time Olympic champion Sir Ben Ainslie has been drafted in to revive Oracle Team USA's flagging bid to retain the America's Cup.
Ainslie has been brought in to replace tactician John Kostecki ahead of race six and seven against Emirates Team New Zealand on Thursday.
Team USA were moved to act after they had won just one of the opening five races in the deciding series.
"We've decided to make a change in the back and bring Ben Ainslie onboard," skipper Jimmy Spithill said in a statement on the team's official website.
"While making crew changes has always been an option, we understand there's a risk that comes with it. JK is a great team-mate and a tremendous asset to our programme, and he is supportive of the decision."
Team USA are effectively six races in arrears after they were docked two points prior to the regatta for illegally modifying their 45-foot catamaran in the event's warm-up series. The move was regarded as one of the biggest controversies in the 162-year history of the race.
New Zealand are therefore in the box seat to reclaim the Auld Mug - the first team to nine wins the series. The Kiwis effectively lead four race wins to minus one.
Tactical errors were at fault for Team USA failing to win in race five on Tuesday, following which they used their postponement card to delay race six until Thursday.
Ainslie, who was knighted in March, spent the rest day working with the team before his introduction.
"It's a tough decision to make, but I'm happy to step up and do what's best for the team," Ainslie said.
"I have a huge amount of respect for JK and really appreciate his support in making the transition."
Kostecki was set to remain involved as a reserve sailor and accepted the change.
"Our goal is keep the America's Cup here no matter what the crew combination is," he said.
"It's clear we need to improve performance, and with that comes changes. I'll fill whatever role is best to help us win."