America’s Cup: Back Again in Portsmouth

Published on July 21st, 2016

by Nic Douglass, Adventures of a Sailor Girl
(July 21, 2016) – They say the years get faster, and this one has just flown by. It feels like more than a year, and yesterday at the same time, that the America’s Cup World Series was first raced in Portsmouth, UK. And now, as I am typing this, the AC45’s are heading out on the water for an unofficial day of practice before official practice racing tomorrow, and the real deal on Saturday and Sunday, July 23 and 24.

The official press conference kicked off today with all skippers, including Artemis Racing step-in Francesco Bruni, who has helm duties while Nathan Outteridge is preparing for the Rio Games. Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby, who typically does the press conference for helm Peter Burling, will also have helm duties this week as Burling also readies for the Rio Games.

Key points of interest from the press conference include questions about which of the skippers would like to see the future of the America’s Cup more certain and defined, to which Sir Ben Ainslie of Land Rover BAR and Jimmy Spithill of Oracle Team USA had a firm taking to, for the sake of the general public and sponsorship value for sailing.

Ashby took a strong stance for keeping the Cup as “The Deed of Gift is a very longstanding deed… and while I love sailing multihulls it is very hard to lock into something”. The Kiwi team has for some time said they may return to monohulls and impose a nationality rule of some kind if they win the Cup.

There was also some excellent banter between Sir Ben Ainslie and James Spithill that was sparked by Andy Green who asked, “There has always been subterfuge and intrigue in the America’s Cup, now you’re here in Portsmouth, Ben’s home, have you had anyone checking out his new technology, or following the boats around on the race course recently?”

What followed between Ben and Jimmy was all fun and games I am sure, that is until they are on the water, but clearly a lot happens behind the scenes that we all want to know about!

The video below includes the interviews with the skippers and all of the questions from the audience for all of the skippers, as well as some of my own questions afterwards with Francesco Bruni and Dean Barker.

Most of the skippers are under extreme pressure at this end of the event, particularly home favourite Sir Ben Ainslie, or maybe he is the happiest, following the birth of his first baby, daughter Bellatrix last Saturday, July 16.

Nic will be posting videos during the event here.

Additional event information, including broadcast details, here.

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