SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — British Olympic star Ben Ainslie really can't lose even if Oracle Team USA fails to defend the America's Cup.

Signed to steer the B boat to help get skipper Jimmy Spithill into fighting trim, Ainslie never expected to sail in the match against Team New Zealand.

His ultimate goal was to gain experience to help lead a British campaign for the next America's Cup, which is looking more and more like it'll be held in Auckland.

After the American powerhouse stumbled in losing four of the first five races, Ainslie replaced American John Kostecki as tactician. There's been a noticeable uptick in the crew's performance and Oracle is sailing much better upwind after modifying its 72-foot catamaran.

Still, Team New Zealand leads 7-1 and needs two more victories to claim sailing's biggest prize.