America’s Cup: Brits plant flag in Bermuda

Published on January 17th, 2015

It is fitting for the 35th America’s Cup, to be held in Bermuda, that British challenger Ben Ainslie Racing is the first team to test the waters of the British territory. Here’s the report from The Royal Gazette

History was made at the Royal Naval Dockyard on Friday (Jan. 16) when Ben Ainslie Racing rolled out the first foiling catamarans to reach these shores.

Curious pedestrians and motorists watched in awe as an advance party from the 35th America’s Cup challenger unloaded a large container housing two doublehanded NACRA F20 catamarans and assembled them in the boatyard at West End Yachts.

Some observers snapped photos of the “flying” catamarans while they casually chatted with team members of the British syndicate as they went about their task of getting the multihull boats ready in time for a week-long training camp with surgeon-like precision.

“We are the advance party, so we are here early to put the boats together for a training week,” said BAR team member Jonathan Goring. “We have two of these, so we are going to have two boats sailing. We are hoping to get in as much sailing as we can and get to know the waters — and this will be one of many times.”

Regarded as the ultimate racing catamaran, the NACRA F20 is designed for inshore and coastal racing and is equipped with a flight-controlling system making it capable of reaching speeds approaching 30mph.

“They are ideal for training because they are small, fast, foiling boats,” Mr Goring said. “They are much more twitchy than the bigger boats, so they are more sensitive. In terms of balance, you learn a lot on them — basically, the whole team and the designers. The designers sail them as well, so they get the feel for what we are doing. These boats are great.”

Also among BAR’s advance party are team racers Andy McLean, Paul Campbell-James and Jono Macbeth, who all featured in the previous America’s Cup in 2013 in San Francisco, but with different teams.

McBeth was a member of defender Oracle Team USA, the holders of the coveted “Auld Mug”, while McLean and Campbell-James competed with challengers Artemis Racing and Luna Rossa.

More team members are due to arrive on Island Sunday (Jan. 18), among them team principal and skipper Sir Ben Ainslie.

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