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 the 35th contest for the fabled trophy. Last 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. It bode well for the clash ahead.
The inaugural America's Cup race 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 was 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 is the most successful Olympic sailor in history. Having clinched a Silver medal at his first attempt, aged 19, he went on to take Gold at the next four Olympics. But putting a team together from scratch to enter what is undoubtedly the greatest race on water is an even tougher challenge. Ainsley was valiant in the extreme to throw his hat in the ring. Raising the colossal resources necessary to mount a successful campaign is a task 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 sea-trials have whetted appetites for the epic tussle that's now just weeks away.
Watch our website for further updates on Britain's bold America's Cup bid, 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]