Land Rover BAR squad aims for Britain’s first America’s Cup victory
Valiant. Sir Ben Ainsley
Britain’s bid to win the America’s Cup for the first time in its 166-year history is gathering pace. Racing will take place in June on the waters of the Great Sound in Bermuda. In November, the final race of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series saw Sir Ben Ainsley’s Land Rover BAR crew in top form, winning strongly against competition from New Zealand, Japan, Sweden, France, and current holders the USA. The inaugural contest for the fabled trophy took place in 1851, on a course which circled the Isle of Wight off England’s south coast. It would be poetic if the Cup were won by the nation that staged that first-ever race. Carried back to these shores in triumphal style, it would rouse a massive new audience in the UK and ignite a fresh round of fierce rivalry, elevating international yacht-racing to another level.
Ben Ainslie, the most successful Olympic sailor in history, was valiant in the extreme to throw his hat in the ring. Raising the colossal resources necessary to mount a successful campaign in this most closely-fought of contests is a challenge most would gladly avoid. But he has already won that battle, establishing a futuristic HQ building on Portsmouth’s seashore, attracting considerable sponsorship in both cash and kind, and presenting a boat – capable of speeds up to 60 mph – that shows every sign of being a world-beater.
A series of four test boats designed and built by Land Rover BAR sharpened the start-up squad's competitive edge. The fifth and definitive boat – R1, unveiled at Portsmouth on the 6th of February – represents the peak of Britain's yacht-racing prowess, and trials will whet appetites for the epic tussle that's now just weeks away.
Watch our website for further updates, and for more detailed information visit the Land Rover BAR team’s official website at http://land-rover-bar.americascup.com/
Images © Alex Palmer [top] Harry KH / Land Rover BAR [left]