Olympic Sailor Rescued on High Seas

Ben Ainslie rescued by Sir Richard Branson and team while on honeymoon.

Ben Ainslie Rescued by Sir Richard Branson and Team
Jack Brockway

Four-time Olympic sailing gold medalist Ben Ainslie was rescued at sea while on his honeymoon last week. And it was billionaire, Sir Richard Branson, and his Necker Island team, that came to the aid of the famed yachtsman’s stricken boat.

Ainslie was with his wife Georgie Thompson, a British TV presenter, sailing in the Caribbean near Necker Island when his vessel’s main sail furling system broke.

"Seeing as Ben is one of the greatest sailors of all time, what we didn't [expect] to see was his boat getting into trouble!" Branson said on his blog. "The furling system broke on the main sail and the sail became so twisted that it couldn't go up, down, in or out."

Marco climbing to cut top of mainsail
Jack Brockway

“However,” Branson continued, “his boat had a serious mechanical problem, in no way Ben's fault, and he put a message out asking for help.”

The only way to avoid going onto the reefs was for [a crew member] to go to the top to cut the sail to pieces, while George and Ben were winching [the crew member] up and down.

Close up of Marco cutting mainsail
Jack Brockway

“Unsurprisingly, Ben kept an amazingly cool head whilst directing operations - he just needed more hands to sort out the mess.”

Ben Ainslie Rescued by Sir Richard Branson
Jack Brockway

“Together, the team helped to stop the boat from wrecking on the Moskito reef,” Branson confirmed. “With no harm done, Ben was able to see the funny side – after all, stranger things have happened at sea. We are now hosting him and Georgie on the island for a few days.”