Still need to get the job done

Published on February 22nd, 2021

The America’s Cup is as wise as old, and rarely is she tricked. The Deed of Gift guides with steady hand, supported by the law when 19th century sentence structure is challenged. Regularly under strain, yet still shines since the first Match in 1870.

She goes to the most deserving, and while the British INEOS Team UK seem that, it was not to be in 2021. Sir Ben Ainslie, the greatest Olympic sailor of all time, surrounded by the best of Great Britain, was denied the dance.

Ainslie had won his fifth Olympic medal in 2012 when he hopped a plane to San Francisco, and while filling a support role for the USA defender, it was Ainslie who got on the boat in the fourth quarter to help the defender out of their mess in 2013.

So he set out in 2014 with his own brand to do the same, well-supported and enriched with a competitive spirit and an environmental platform. However, their challenge in 2017 failed to produce a fast enough boat.

Ainslie made big changes for 2021, setting aside his team of backers to partner with INEOS, and while aligning with this chemical powerhouse meant shedding the ‘green message’, the war chest was ready for what would be an expensive battle.

But the Auld Mug would not reward their effort, having seen a British team far too erratic to earn her praise. A horrible December, a remarkable January, and a tragic February is not the path to her heart. She likes slow and steady, but much like 2017 campaign, Ainslie’s team did not deliver him a fast enough boat.

What now? The uncertainty of the America’s Cup leaves all wondering, but Ainslie leaves little doubt through his parting comments:

Everyone knows Britain’s never won the America’s Cup. It started off around the Isle of Wight and its one event we’ve never won in sport. So that’s a huge motivator for the team, myself included. We set out to achieve a target and we want to get that job done and we’ll keep going until we get there.

When you look at a team like Luna Rossa which has been in the Cup game for 20 years, Team New Zealand for 30-odd years, it’s that constant learning and development. Whilst the people may change slightly over that period, as an organization they’re growing each time and it’s that collective learning. For us this is our second go at the Cup.

Of course, we are disappointed, but I could not be prouder of the team and how they have dealt with the challenges we have faced over the past four years, and especially since we’ve been here in New Zealand. Every single person in this team worked incredibly hard to turn things around from where we were before Christmas to make the Prada Cup Final and I’m really proud of that.

This is a people game and so many people in this organization have grown massively over the past four years. We’ve learnt a huge amount throughout this campaign and now we need to go back and analyze where we didn’t get it quite right. That learning and development is key.

We started this team in 2014 with the goal to bring the America’s Cup back to Britain and as far as we’re concerned, we still need to get the job done.

The Prada Cup Challenger Selection Series began with a series of four round robins (Jan. 15-17 and Jan. 22-24) in which the winner of the series (INEOS Team UK) qualified for the Prada Cup Final and the remaining two Challengers (Luna Rossa and American Magic) competed in the Semi-Final Series (Jan. 29-Feb. 2). Luna Rossa advanced to the Final (Feb. 13–22), beating INEOS Team UK to earn entry to face the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, in the America’s Cup Match beginning March 6.

More information:
• Complete America’s Cup coverage: click here
• Additional America’s Cup information: click here

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