Land Rover BAR up to second in America’s Cup World Series as Artemis Racing win in Chicag.
After the frustration of seeing light winds once again wreak havoc with an America’s Cup World Series event, forcing the cancellation of Saturday’s entire race programme in Chicago, organisers managed to stage all three ‘Super Sunday’ races yesterday.
Artemis Racing, the Swedish challenger which is led by Britain’s two-time Olympic champion Iain Percy, made the most of winds of 12-15 knots, finishing top of the standings, but it proved to be an excellent regatta, too, for the British entry Land Rover BAR.
Sir Ben Ainslie’s team finished the event in second place after posting a first, a fourth and a second in Sunday’s three races. But just as importantly they saw Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA stutter on Lake Michigan in the first ever America’s Cup regatta to take place on freshwater, the Kiwis and the Americans only able to finish fourth and fifth out of the six teams.
Sir Ben Ainslie shows Kate round America’s Cup base
That enabled Land Rover BAR to leapfrog Oracle Team USA and rise to second place in the overall standings, 10 points behind Emirates Team NZ.
Saturday’s cancelled programme had meant that Friday’s ‘substitute race’, in which Land Rover BAR finished fifth, counted.
Land Rover BAR – America’s Cup
But with points counting double on ‘Super Sunday’, Ainslie’s team made an excellent start, leading from start to finish in the first race of the day to win by 54 seconds from the Swedish challenger Artemis Racing.
Despite the absence of tactician Giles Scott, busy winning the Finn dinghy class at the Weymouth World Cup as he prepares to compete at Rio 2016, Land Rover BAR backed that up with a fourth and a second place to finish the regatta with 58 points in total, three less than Artemis.
In the final race they made a brilliant start but then had to fight back from a penalty to snatch second place on the line.
“What can I say, today was brilliant racing, and it’s great to showcase the sport this way, and show how good it can be,” Ainslie said. “The guys onboard did an incredible job, in these conditions it’s all about boat handling and the fitness required. I can’t say enough about the boys and the great job they did today.
“The starts are harder than it looks, we’ve been practising a lot as the starts are critical to this style of racing. We had two crackers, especially the last one which was really important.”
For the Love of Sailing Play! 00:30
The top two finishers from the world series carry points through to the challengers series at next year’s 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda. The winner of that series will earn the right to take on holders Oracle Team USA in the final match.
The America’s Cup World Series requires teams to race in identical foiling 45ft catamarans while they develop test boats back at their respective bases in preparation for next year’s event when they will race in the so-called ‘Cup Class’ of foiling catamaran.
The next World Series regatta is Land Rover BAR’s home event in Portsmouth next month from July 21-24. Ainslie’s team won on home waters in 2015.
“Now we’re getting to the business end of the series, it’s tight between ourselves, Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA,” Ainslie said. “So we’re all really excited about the next event in Portsmouth. To perform so well in front of a home crowd last year is what it’s all about for us, so we can’t wait for the event. Last year was just incredible, hopefully we can repeat, looking forward to brilliant conditions for Portsmouth.”