Sir Ben lauds shore team after painful weekend in Bermuda

Land Rover BAR were patched up and back on the water in Bermuda on Sunday. Picture: Ricardo Pinto

Sir Ben Ainslie paid tribute to his shore team after a difficult weekend for Land Rover BAR in the America’s Cup.

The British crew claimed just one win from four races as their qualifying campaign got off to a disappointing start in Bermuda.

To make matters worse, a crash with Softbank Team Japan on the startline in the second outing on Saturday left the team facing a race against time to even compete on Sunday.

But despite considerable damage to the boat, Ainslie does not believe it hampered his crew as they lost to both Oracle Team USA and Emirates New Zealand on day two.

Instead, he pointed to mistakes in handling and tactics.

‘It was an incredible effort by our shore team, working through the night to get the boat patched back together,’ said Ainsle.

‘Most people would have seen the damage from Saturday and thought it was pretty unlikely, so they did an amazing job.

‘They are great guys and it is just a shame we couldn’t repay all that work with some wins.

‘We had the lead in both races but unfortunately didn’t quite get it right.

‘We made a few boat-handling errors, in particular, and a few other mistakes around the course which we can go away and learn from. We have got to keep improving.

‘I don’t think the damage made any difference. Like I said, the guys did an incredible job fixing it up.

‘Boat speed probably was not the defining factor.

‘We made errors mostly in boat handling but we also made a few tactical errors. We have to go away and work on that.

‘Everyone found it hard out there, the conditions were up and down but we have to do a better job.’

BAR, who carried two points over from their victory in the America’s Cup World Series, opened the qualifiers with a win over Sweden’s Artemis Racing.

But three consecutive defeats have seen them slip to second spot ahead of the battle with France on Monday (6pm).

Ainslie admitted more repairs would be required before that contest.

Meanwhile, Team Japan helmsman Dean Barker had a message for Ainslie after his own shore team had been pressed into action following the collision with the British boat.

The Kiwi sailor said: ‘We have still got a bit of work to do on our boat.

‘I think the shore crew are looking forward to when Ben’s going to bring some beers down.

‘It didn’t happen on Saturday night but I’m guessing he will do it soon!’

In Monday’s other action, New Zealand take on Sweden and France will race Japan.

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