Ben Ainslie signs up for 2020 SailGP

Adrian Warren
Ben Ainslie (l) and Tom Slingsby (c) sailed together for Team USA in the 2013 America's Cup

Inaugural SailGP champions Australia will have to contend with the most successful sailor in Olympic history, after British superstar Ben Ainslie signed up for the 2020 series.

Ainlsie, who has won four gold medals across five Olympics, will beef up the British challenge, after that team came fourth out of six teams in the 2019 series.

Australia and the Japan team skippered by Aussie Nathan Outteridge dominated the inaugural series, with the two teams meeting in the US$1million match-race final in France.

The British team finished in the standings behind those boats and China and ahead of France and The United States.

Australian skipper Tom Slingsby, himself an Olympic champion, has sailed both with and against Ainslie.

"They were part of a triumphant America's Cup team in 2013, while Ainslie joined another program for the 2017 race.

"He's an unbelievable competitor, for me I think it's his determination and hunger to win is what really sets him aside from other people," Slingsby told AAP.

"Off the water he's an absolute gentleman, very quietly spoken and extremely nice.

"But on the water he's an absolute pitbull and he's not polite at all.

"He goes out there to win and he's not there to make friends and he makes plenty of enemies on the water but then you meet him on land and you wouldn't know, because his alter ego comes out on the water."

Ainslie's SailGP team will be fully announced early next year, but will be a combination of sailors from INEOS TEAM UK - the British challenger for the America's Cup - and existing members of the Great Britain SailGP crew.

Slingsby expects Australia will field a very similar crew in 2020 to the one that performed so well this year.

"I think we all worked really well together and I'm hoping that I can keep our team," Slingsby said.

More boats and events are tipped for the second season, with Sydney hosting the first leg of the 2020 series in late February.