Americas Cup 2017 - The Brits Are Coming
Sir Ben Ainslie is the most successful Olympic sailor of all time. As Land Rover BAR Team Principal, he will lead a British entry into the 35th America’s Cup, with the aim of bringing the Cup back to Britain where it all began in 1851.
Friday 26th May 2017 is the opening race of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers in Bermuda. The 35th America’s Cup will then take place in Bermuda from 17th to 27th June 2017.
As three and a half years of unrelenting effort inexorably close in on judgement day, Land Rover BAR’s Chairman, Sir Charles Dunstone takes time out to reflect on the journey, ‘I think it’s the only international sporting trophy that Britain’s never won, and it was started in Britain. So, if you’re passionate about sailing, and you know about sailing, there’s this kind of gaping omission in our sporting history.’
Sir Charles added, ‘We’re such a maritime nation and latterly so successful in the Olympics and other major events. It’s weird and strange that we’ve never managed to achieve it. So for anyone who’s in sailing it preys on your mind that we’ve never done this. Combine all that with having someone like Ben who’s probably the greatest sailor of his generation and he’s got a passion for it, and you just go - we need to do something about this. Many people have tried and spent a lot of money and a lot of effort before, but as keen sailors, it’s our turn now, to try our best and pull it off.'
It’s always felt like timing was everything for Land Rover BAR. There was a powerful sense that Ainslie’s fourth Olympic gold medal in 2012, followed by the remarkable comeback to win the 34th America’s Cup with Oracle Team USA had created a unique opportunity. It had made Ainslie’s visibility so great that no door in the land was closed to him. It was a perfect storm of opportunity, the man with the dream and the talent to bring the Cup home, had won the A-list celebrity status needed to find the financial support and resource that a competitive America’s Cup challenge required.
It’s Ben Ainslie’s role as leader, the belief in his unique gifts in a sailboat that is central to almost everyone’s involvement in the Land Rover BAR story. Once Ben Ainslie got back to England after the triumph in San Francisco Bay, the team gathered momentum quickly, and Charles Dunstone’s central role became clear as he took on the job as Chairman of Ben Ainslie Racing Ltd.
So what is it about Ainslie that Dunstone thinks is so special?
Sir Charles summed it up, 'Ben wants it so much. He just never gives up and he just wants it more than anybody else does. There are people that can want it and not be able to get it, but he wants it and he finds that extra bit somehow. I really love this quote, when Roger Bannister ran the first four minute mile, he said afterwards, ‘It’s the ability to take more out of yourself than you’ve got to give.'
Americas Cup Facts & Stats
The winner of the Challenger Series (26 May to 12 June) will race against holders Oracle Team USA in a Best-Of-13 series for the 35th Americas Cup (17 to 27 June).
The America’s Cup is the oldest active trophy in international sport, predating The Ashes and modern Olympic Games by decades.
Land Rover BAR will be the first British team to challenge for the Cup in 16 years.
It's the hardest trophy in sport to win. Since 1851 just four nations have won: Australia (once), New Zealand (twice), Switzerland (twice) and the USA (28 times).
It’s not named after the United States. The Cup is named after a boat that raced 15 rivals in 1851 from the Royal Yacht Squadron around the Isle of Wight. The schooner 'America' dominated the 53-mile course and beat the runner-up by a total of eight minutes.
The Cup itself is an ornate sterling silver bottomless ewer, one of several off-the-shelf trophies crafted in 1848 by Garrad & Co. It was purchased and donated to the Royal Yacht Squadron for its 1851 regatta.
Originally the race was just for two boats – the Defender and the Challenger.
The Defender and Challenger actually represent Yacht Clubs (not countries) but to date there has never been two entries from the same country, so teams are often referred to by their nationality instead.
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