Sailing's Coming Home

The America’s Cup – the oldest sporting trophy in the world and yachting’s most prestigious prize – has been won by only four nations since its first edition in 1851: USA, New Zealand, Australia and Switzerland. Britain has never raised the trophy, despite the contest starting as a race around the Isle of Wight (which was won by the schooner America) and 22 previous British Challenges.

INEOS TEAM UK, the British Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup, is poised to change that. The team are Challenging under Royal Yacht Squadron Racing and will compete in a series of global events called the America’s Cup World Series before they reach New Zealand in 2021. They hope to win the Prada Cup ‘Challenger Selection Series’ – the preluding qualifying series to the AC36 – to take on the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, in a dramatic nautical duel off the coast of Auckland. The British hopefuls have impeccable credentials: the team is led and backed by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the Founder and Chairman of INEOS, one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies, and is skippered by Sir Ben Ainslie, the 34th America’s Cup winner with US Team Oracle and (with 4 gold medals and one silver to his name) the world’s most successful Olympic sailor. Grant Simmer, a sailing icon who has competed in ten America's Cups and won four, is the team's CEO.

INEOS TEAM UK Team Principal and Skipper, Ben Ainslie: “The challenge for all of us at INEOS TEAM UK is about designing the fastest boat possible. You are always looking for ways you can push the boat even faster and that means designing and building a boat to the limit of what is possible. The AC75 is a completely new class of boat: a 75-foot single hull with twin foils, it’s unlike anything we have ever seen before.”

The America’s Cup is a sailing race that consistently pushes the boundaries of design and technology. Tradition states that the reigning champion decides the concept and parameters of the race to defend their title. Emirates Team New Zealand and Challenger of Record, Luna Rossa Challenge, have chosen the AC75, a 75-foot high performance fully foiling monohull. Since the teams received the AC75 class rule back in 2018 – a rule which defines the parameters within which teams can design a yacht eligible to compete in the 36th America's Cup – they have been working hard behind closed doors to design and build their race boats.

Under America’s Cup rules, no team’s full- size race boat can be launched before the 31st March 2019. INEOS TEAM UK launched their test boat, code named T5, during the summer of 2018. It was formerly a Quant 28 and has been significantly modified to match the fundamental parameters of the AC75. T5 is a 28-foot foiling monohull, scaled at 40% of the AC75. It allows the team to learn to sail a completely new concept of sailboat and verify computer modelling and simulations for the design of their first race boat.

America’s Cup World Series events, venues and dates TBC.
LATE 2020: America’s Cup Christmas Race. Auckland, New Zealand. (Dates TBC)
EARLY 2021: The Prada Cup ‘Challenger Selection Series’ Auckland, New Zealand. (Dates TBC)
6th-21st MARCH, 2021: America’s Cup Match Presented by Prada 2021: Auckland, New Zealand.
The Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, will race against the winner of the Prada Cup in the 36th America’s Cup Match Presented by Prada 2021.
The America’s Cup Match: Best of 13 Races. The first to reach 7 Points.

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