Portsmouth Land Rover BAR unveil America’s Cup race boat

The LandRover BAR Race yacht Rita being christened and launched today at the team's base in Bermuda Picture: Lloyd Images
The LandRover BAR Race yacht Rita being christened and launched today at the team's base in Bermuda Picture: Lloyd Images

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THE ambitions of Portsmouth sailing side Land Rover BAR to win the America’s Cup and bring the trophy back home to Britain after 166 years have taken a major step forward.

The team, led by Olympian Sir Ben Ainslie, has unveiled the race boat it will compete on in Bermuda this summer.

Sir Ben’s wife Georgie and baby daughter Bellatrix smashed a bottle of English sparkling Nyetimber wine to christen the race boat Rita – the name carried by all 19 of Sir Ben’s previous Olympic and world championship winning boats. With 107 days to the start of racing, the team will continue with their testing and development programme, which will now include ‘in-house’ racing against their test boat ‘T3’.

Sir Ben said: ‘It’s a great moment to see our AC50 Race boat hit the water in Bermuda.

‘The launch represents the sum of all the team’s efforts to bring the America’s Cup home, and we’re delighted to get her in the water here in Bermuda.

‘We’re a start-up team, and we had to build not just the boat but the design and engineering team, the facilities and the processes to get to this point today.

‘There are just a few short months before the racing starts at the end of May, and we will be working very hard now on the final development and testing of this boat to make sure we are ready for the racing.’