OLYMPIC sailing champion Sir Ben Ainslie has become a patron of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth.

The museum has been home to Sir Ben’s Olympic gold medal winning boats since 2004, when it first took custody of his Laser dinghy, which he sailed to victory at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Since then Sir Ben has famously gone on to win three further golds in the Finn class, at Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and at London 2012. The museum displays the Finn, named Rita, in their main hall where visitors can get up close to the piece of British Olympic sailing history.

Maritime Museum director, Jonathan Griffin said: “Ben has been a great supporter of the museum for the past ten years and we are honoured that he has agreed to come on board as our patron.

“Having a figure of Sir Ben Ainslie’s stature as our patron will be of huge benefit as we continue with our campaign to raise £4m over the next decade and secure our future ambitions for the museum.”

Sir Ben said: “Like me, the museum has a passion for boats and sailing in all its forms and I am delighted to have been asked to become their new patron. They have been a supporter of mine for many years and I admire their commitment to celebrating the sea boat and Cornwall.

“I am happy to support their continued work and, who knows, perhaps we can inspire the next generation of Olympic sailing champions.”