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America’s Cup: Brits riding a whale

Published on July 2nd, 2020

As the story goes, it was during the 2017 America’s Cup in Bermuda when Britain’s Ben Ainslie had a life changing experience. He had come to Bermuda knowing his team had not done what was needed to win the America’s Cup, and while that scenario played out, Ainslie met in a pub with British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe for a drink.

Well, one thing led to another, and they forged a relationship which would provide Ainslie the support needed for the next America’s Cup to avoid the mistakes made during his first campaign.

While it would require cutting ties with his loyal sponsors that helped to launch the first British America’s Cup campaign since 2003, and it would be shifting from a pro-environment platform to a corporation with a questionable environmental record, Ainslie had his whale to fund his team.

With the final chapter yet to be written early next year, Ratcliffe is a name we continue to see in the headlines. He owns soccer teams, the Tour de France-winning cycling team, a Formula One team, and funded the successful attempt by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge to run a marathon in less than two hours. And now, he launched a car company because he couldn’t buy the car he desired.

When in 2015 Jaguar Land Rover announced that after 67 years it was ending production of the iconic Land Rover Defender, Ratcliffe tried to buy the old Defender tooling, but JLR refused to sell. Undaunted, he decided to create his own Defender-style off-roader instead. Meet the Ineos Grenadier.

Ineos is the name of his U.K.-based, multinational chemicals company and Grenadier is the name of the pub in Belgravia, London, where Ratcliffe first floated the idea of building his own off-roader. And the Ineos Grenadier (click here) is an unapologetic homage to one of his favorite vehicles.

So when you see Ainslie’s AC75 flying by, and wonder about the Grenadier sponsor name on his sail, you will realize what kind of whale he is riding.


36th America’s Cup
In addition to Challenges from Italy, USA, and Great Britain that were accepted during the initial entry period (January 1 to June 30, 2018), eight additional Notices of Challenge were received by the late entry deadline on November 30, 2018. Of those eight submittals, entries from Malta, USA, and the Netherlands were also accepted. Here’s the list:

• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

• Luna Rossa (ITA) – Challenger of Record
• American Magic (USA)
• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT) – WITHDRAW
• Stars + Stripes Team USA (USA)
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAW

Of the three late entries, only Stars+Stripes USA remains committed, however, it is unclear what entry payments have been made, nor is there knowledge of a boat being actively built or sailing team assembled.

Key America’s Cup dates:
✔ 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
✔ November 30, 2018: Late entries deadline
✔ March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ 2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series events (CANCELLED)
✔ October 1, 2019: US$1million late entry fee deadline (NOT KNOWN)
✔ February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ April 23-26, 2020: First (1/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia (CANCELLED)
✔ June 4-7, 2020: Second (2/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, England (CANCELLED)
• December 17-20, 2020: Third (3/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland, New Zealand
• January 15-February 22, 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
• March 6-15, 2021: The America’s Cup Match

Youth America’s Cup Competition
• February 18-23, 2021
• March 1-5, 2021
• March 8-12, 2021

AC75 launch dates:
September 6 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 1
September 10 – American Magic (USA), Boat 1; actual launch date earlier but not released
October 2 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 1
October 4 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 1


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