The 35-year-old, from Restronguet and who is currently racing in the second round of the America's Cup World Series in San Francisco, is one of seven sailors nominated for the prestigious male prize.
The nominees were put forward based on their achievements from the start of September last year to the end of August this year with Ainslie not the only Olympic champion among them.
Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page are up for the award together having won 470 gold at London 2012 as are fellow Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, who won the 49er at the Games.
Both pairs also won the world title this year and last while Laser sailor and fellow Australian Tom Slingsby is too nominated for the same achievements with France's Loick Peyron completing the set.
Ainslie, who became the most decorated Olympic sailor ever after taking his medal tally to four golds and a silver with victory in the Finn at London 2012, won the prize in 1998, 2002 and 2008.
He was nominated in 2004 and 2011 but unsuccessful while he also boasts victory in the Finn Gold Cup this year - the equivalent of the World Championships for the class.
Ainslie is one of three Brits up for an award with Helena Lucas, the nation's first ever Paralympic sailing champion, and world and European youth windsurfing champion Saskia Sills up for the female prize.