Ainslie and Paralympian Helena Lucas among those named in Honours list

Ben Ainslie, the most decorated Olympic

sailor of all time, has capped off his record-breaking 2012 with a knighthood in the New Year Honours list.

While Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas and Ainslie’s coach David

Howlett have both been named as Members of the Order of the British

Empire (MBE).

‘Sir Ben’ claimed his fourth straight Olympic gold – and fifth Olympic

medal in total – on the waters of Weymouth and Portland this summer.

Now, this most prestigious honour comes as fitting curtain call to

his lucrative Olympic sailing career, which he called time on last month

in order to focus on his America’s Cup ambitions.

Lymington’s Ainslie, 35, said: “This is an incredible honour.

“When I set out Olympic sailing 20 years ago, I never would have

dreamt this would happen.

“I couldn’t have achieved this honour without

the support of all the people who have helped me throughout my career

and so I hope they can also take some pride in this moment.”

In September, Portland’s Lucas became the first Paralympic gold medallist for

sailing since it became a full Paralympic programme sport in 2000.

Not only did Lucas make history on the waters of Portland Harbour but she

notably did so as the only female among an otherwise all-male fleet in

the 2.4mR class.

Lucas, 37, said: “It’s a real honour and a fantastic end to an amazing year.

“It was totally unexpected as there have been so many

outstanding sporting achievements this year.”

David ‘Sid’ Howlett, 61, coached Ainslie to his record-breaking

fourth Olympic gold and sixth Finn World Championship title this summer,

while his knowledge and experience has also contributed to a clutch of

British Olympic sailing medals since 1988.

Outside of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, there was also recognition

for Malcolm Torry, who was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for

services to sailing and to people with disabilities for his work through

Carsington Sailability in Derbyshire.

Sarah Treseder, CEO of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) said: “We

are all absolutely thrilled for sailing’s award recipients, who have all

made major contributions either to the RYA community, or the sport of

sailing and its successes on the world stage across so many years.

“They are such great ambassadors for our sport, and we’re delighted and

so proud that their hard work and achievements have been recognised

after the sporting success story that 2012 has been for the country.”