Ainslie & Co focused on iconic New York win
Sir Ben Ainslie focused on Land Rover BAR's latest challenge and admitted: We're up for what New York will throw at us.
The Portsmouth-based outfit are in the Big Apple this weekend as the 2016 Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) resumes.
Land Rover BAR currently sit third in the standings after winning the Oman round back in February and remain the only team to have won two ACWS events in this Cup cycle.
The team are just one point behind Oracle Team USA and seven points adrift of Emirates Team New Zealand.
New York has a long history and association with the Cup.
It was home to America’s Cup racing until 1920 – the year the Brits came closest to winning as Sir Thomas Lipton led 2-0 before eventually being beaten 3-2.
This weekend also marks Ainslie’s return to racing in the States for the first time since victory in the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco.
On this occasion, however, he will be challenging Jimmy Spithill for the trophy rather than helping him to defend it.
And the multiple Olympic gold medallist is excited by the test that lies in wait.
‘We got the win in Oman, but this is a very different place, a very different venue and expected conditions, so it’s a different challenge for all of the teams,’ said Land Rover BAR skipper and team principal Ainslie.
‘We’ve had to think about the right approach to this event as a team.
‘We’ve been preparing hard for that and we’re excited to be racing in as iconic a location as New York.’
The Land Rover BAR crew will continue the process of rotation that was so successful in Oman.
Giles Scott is now focusing on his Finn campaign for the Olympics in Rio this summer.
Coming onto the boat will be the former 49er sailor Ed Powys, who will be making his ACWS debut.
Team manager Jono Macbeth admitted Scott’s absence was a blow but said Powys’ call-up showed the strength and depth at the team’s disposal.
‘In Oman we did some crew rotations and had a very successful regatta, and I think that really showed how strong our sailing team is in depth,’ said Macbeth.
‘We’ve lost Giles Scott due to his Olympic campaign, and this will be the first regatta that he has missed.
‘It will give us another chance to do some rotations, and show the depth of the sailing team across a lot of different areas.
‘We’ve got young Ed Powys coming in, one of the newest members of our team, and he’s been doing an absolutely fantastic job in training.
‘We are super excited to get him out there. He brings a new exuberance and excitement to the team.
‘But I don’t think any team is under any illusions about how difficult the race track in New York is going to be.
‘And looking ahead to the forecast, we are going to get a breeze out of just about every quarter at different strengths and tendencies.
‘We are hoping to carry on with the momentum we had out of Oman, but at the same time it is going to be a very testing race course for the sailors and a tricky weekend.’