Richard Branson rescues Olympic champ & wife

Jan 15, 2015, 08:34 IST | AFP

British businessman dispatches his watersports team to help honeymooners - sailor Ben Ainslie and TV anchor Georgie Thompson - stranded on their boat off the British Virgin Islands

London: Four-time Olympic gold medal-winning sailor Ben Ainslie revealed on Tuesday that he and his new wife were helped by British entrepreneur Richard Branson after running into trouble while sailing on their honeymoon.

Ben Ainslie & wife Georgie Thompson. Pic/Getty Images
Ben Ainslie & wife Georgie Thompson. Pic/Getty Images 

Technical problem
Ainslie and television presenter Georgie Thompson, both 37, were sailing close to Branson's Necker Island, in the British Virgin Islands, after marrying in December, when their boat developed a problem with its sail furling system.

After they called for help, Branson dispatched members of his watersports team to prevent the vessel being wrecked on a reef, before inviting the couple to stay with him for a couple of days.

"Unfortunately, we had a mechanical failure with the mast furling system, which, for just the two of us, was a bit too much to fix on our own," Ainslie, the most decorated Olympic yachtsman in history, told Sky Sports News.

Super sailor Ben
Ainslie has won medals at five consecutive Olympics from 1996-2012, including gold at the last four editions of the quadrennial event.

Richard Branson
Richard Branson 

"We were very lucky that we were right next to Necker Island and some of the guys from the sailing centre, I have to say, were absolutely amazing and between the four of us, we managed the situation.

Dinner invite
"Then, Richard, very kindly, called up and invited us over for dinner, added Ainslie. The couple have experienced trouble at sea together before, having been forced to abandon an attempt to break the Atlantic crossing record in 2008 when winds and high waves damaged their boat.

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