Britain’s new America’s Cup plan
Published on April 27th, 2018
Sir Ben Ainslie put together a new team for the 35th America’s Cup, bringing Britain back into the competition they’d been absence from since 2003, and an event they’d never won.
His team, Land Rover BAR, fell short in 2017, but with a new partner in INEOS, one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies, Ainslie’s campaign now has $152 million USD (£110 million) war chest and a new name: Ineos Team GB.
Here he comments on the road forward to 2021.
About the new entity
It’s a big structural change to the team. We’re effectively a new entity entering the America’s Cup through the Royal Yacht Squadron and Royal Yacht Squadron Racing. Jim Ratcliffe have come in to back the team with a full budget to effectively give us that that strategy we need for a two boat campaign and everything else that goes with that to have a crack at the next America’s Cup in this really exciting new concept of boat. It’s a big moment for the team.
Changing the boat
The class rule came out a couple of months ago and while it’s quite constrained in some areas of supplied equipment, I guess most significantly is how the hull shape of the boat is open. Also we can build two boats and that really is quite a significant change in the budget for the team, going up roughly around 30% and that was one of the key reasons why we had to change our structure and go down this route of funding.
I want to say a massive thank you to our previous investors and commercial partners for the last campaign. They’re disappointed that they’re not able to continue with the America’s Cup program but at the same time they understand the extra cost involved and everyone here is just passionate about trying to get the America’s Cup back to British waters.
The unique design
It’s an amazing concept. In the simulation it’s incredibly fast, it’s going to be full-on from the sailing perspective, and very soon this year I think we’ll see some of the teams getting the test boats in the water. We’ll see then quite how it works for real out on the water which will be an interesting development.
We’ll get our test boat out on the water later this summer, which be a big moment for the team, and we’re also starting to develop the sailing team predominantly for the GC 32 program with the Extreme Sailing Series and later on for the class’s European-based circuit. We’re starting to bring some key sailors together, we’ve got some exciting new signings coming up and in their future which will be building from the foundations of the previous team and bringing some new key talent. All in all, it is a really exciting period for the team.
Changes in team strategy
The structure of the team will remain the same as we go through this transition in terms of Grant Simmer as the CEO, myself as a team principal, Nick Holroyd as the chief designer, but in terms of the design strategy, the simulation obviously is really key and we saw how Team New Zealand was really successful in that last time round. But also we believe that was an area where we were quite well advanced, and we’ve been really focused on since Bermuda, and developing that now for this concept to boat moving forwards you.
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup Protocol released
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders
✔ January 1, 2018: Entries for Challengers open
✔ March 31, 2018: AC75 Class Rule published
June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers close
August 31, 2018: Location of the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup confirmed
August 31, 2018: Specific race course area confirmed
December 31, 2018: Late entries deadline
March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched
2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events
February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched
During 2020: 3 x America’s Cup World Series Preliminary Events
December 10-20, 2020: America’s Cup Christmas Race
January and February 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
March 2021: The America’s Cup Match