HAMPSHIRE’S sailing superstar takes to the Solent today to recreate one of the most famous races in sailing history.

Lymington-based triple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie and his British team are sailing back in time to celebrate the first ever America’s Cup race, held in 1851.

Today’s race around the Isle of Wight is an exciting climax to a three-day duel at Cowes Week between Britain’s Team Origin and the current holders of the cup, America’s BMW Oracle Racing.

They have been battling it out in a series of short-course match racing in a bid to scoop the new 1851 Cup, a trophy brought to this year’s regatta by Team Origin.

So far the two crews have provided some nail-biting action, with Ben and his team winning the first two races.

The final sprint clockwise around the Island is following the original course that saw the birth of the America’s Cup in 1851. In that summer, 14 British yachts raced a visiting US yacht called America.

The America yacht won and her owners were awarded a silver ewer, which became one of the world’s leading sports trophies.

Ben, Britain’s most successful Olympic sailor, said: “There is no better opportunity to invigorate Cup fever in the British public than at Cowes Week.

“It looks like it is as good as ever with so many boats. There are so many people around that for us to be racing the Cup boats on home waters is pretty special.

“It is going to be about who gets out of the tide first or who makes the best call on the tidal influences.”

On board with Ben is Southamp-ton-based Iain Percy, the team’s tactician, who has noted the unique challenges racing at Cowes presents.

Iain, also an Olympic gold medallist in his own right, said: “One of the challenges is that you keep on thinking about the racing and not about the ships and all the rest of it.”

Today’s race starts at 9.50am from the Royal Yacht Squadron line with a prize giving ashore at the 1851 Cup Marquee on Cowes Parade after the racing.