British skipper Sir Ben Ainslie believes the new monohulls could be as exciting as the foiling catamarans used over the last two editions of the America’s Cup.
Ainslie has reiterated his intent to contest the next America’s Cup in Auckland 2021 and says he’s comfortable with the transition back to monohulls confirmed by holders Emirates Team New Zealand.
Ainslie, who won the Cup with Oracle on board the giant 72-foot catamarans in San Francisco in 2013 and then built his own British team for Bermuda 2017 where smaller 50-foot catamarans were used, reaffirmed he would have liked to have stayed in multihulls but has become increasingly at ease with the design U-turn since Team New Zealand released details of the protocol for 2021 in late September.
“We are comfortable with the transition. The key people in our sailing, design, engineering and support teams all have a great deal of relevant experience,” Ainslie told Boatinterantional.com.
“Although I feel that stability and staying with the multihull for the next America’s Cup would have been the best decision, this new boat could be just as exciting.”
More details of the 75-foot state-of-the art monohull will be released publicly on November 30 and the class rule will be confirmed by March 31.
But there is little doubt that Ainslie has been given a better picture of what’s in store as Team New Zealand courts challengers for their Auckland defence.
Ainslie, despite his tussles with Team New Zealand in Bermuda that included a dramatic round-robin clash ahead of their challengers semifinal won by the Kiwis, has strong links with the syndicate, having been part of their mix in the old monohull days.
He says his team won’t be greatly affected by team New Zealand’s decision to tighten the nationality laws.
“Land Rover BAR has always had a British identity, so a nationality rule suits us well with strong homegrown talent in our sailing team,” he said, though he predicted problems for some other potential syndicates.
“We are yet to see which teams will continue from the last America’s Cup, but a couple of them were very multi-national and they will have to reconfigure their sailing teams to meet the new residency requirements, which will be expensive.”
He felt the release of the class rule would determine how many teams would be involved in the Auckland regatta.
“The America’s Cup will always be a sporting and design race and there is a need for the best talent. The top end of sport is expensive,” he told Boatinternational.com.
Ainslie was thankful for having the ongoing support of his major sponsors who backed his dream to return the America’s Cup to its original home and there was a desire to build strongly on what they had achieved in their Bermuda debut.
He had retained a core team amidst a robust review of their Bermuda effort.
The Brits had constant speed problems which never made them a serious contender and that was something they needed to address.
“We are restructuring and examining where our specific focus should be to create a winning formula,” Ainslie, hugely respected internationally, said.
“As a new team, we were playing a game of catch up all the way through the 35th America’s Cup and that put a lot of pressure on us. While we did make mistakes in strategy we have identified them and learned from them.
“If I had to pick one thing out for the next campaign, it’s to do a better job of matching our racing strategy to the available resources.”
Source website link