Ben & Rita, the best sailing double act since the Owl & the Pussycat

Behind every successful man is a good women and Rita has certainly been loyal to Great Britain's Ben Ainslie

ben ainslie
British sailor Ben Ainslie Photo: onEdition

ben ainslie

Love can rule on the ocean wave. There’s Leo and Kate, Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton, the Owl and Pussycat and, most importantly, British Olympic hopefuls Ben and Rita.

Rita is variously the former owner of Korrie’s Cabin, friend of Deidre and Coronation Street’s most horny septuagenarian and the 15th century patron saint of lost and impossible causes.

Hopefully neither were the inspiration for British sailor Ben Ainslie, who has named every boat he’s ever owned after the traffic warden who inspired The Beatles’ Sgt Peppers hit.

Behind every successful man is a good women and Rita has certainly been loyal, not even moaning when her master started publicly cheating on her with the big boats of the America’s Cup.

Perhaps she knew he’d always return for a home Games.

After all, saintly Rita, steadfast in the storms, true on the tide and not particularly talkative, possibly making her the perfect partner, has guided Ainslie to not just three Olympic golds and one silver but ten world titles too.

Ainslie’s current Rita has been around since 2003 making them the most successful Olympic partnership since Torvill and Dean.

And now the whole of the country can get behind this power couple, a nautical Bill and Hillary, in their search for a fourth Olympic gold at London 2012 by tweeting using the hash tag #benandrita in the message.

You can also grab a pair of exclusive #benandrita port (left) and starboard (right) socks, which have been created to encourage people to show their support.

Already artist Tracey Emin, British sailing team boss Stephen Park and David Bond, Britain’s last surviving gold medallist from the 1948 Games, have posted picture messages on Ainslie’s Facebook page shod with their sartorial socks.

Ainslie’s spare ‘Rita’ – which admittedly rather ruins the romance of the whole thing – is currently on tour and you can see her on display in the regatta village at this month’s J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.

Until then get online and pledge your support to one of Team GB’s genuine nice guys.

You can show your support by tweeting a message of support to Ben @ainslieben followed by #benandrita. You can also post a photo or message on Ben’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/benainslie1977, where 100 pairs of socks are up for grabs

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