A fresh start as Ainslie targets leaders

SIR BEN AINSLIE has targeted climbing the leaderboard as he prepares for an America's Cup first.

Friday, 10th June 2016, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 13th June 2016, 12:00 pm
Land Rover BAR skipper and team principal Sir Ben Ainslie Picture: Harry KH/Land Rover BAR

The 2016 Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series moves to Chicago this weekend for the third event of the season.

It will be the first time an America’s Cup race has not taken place in salt water as Lake Michigan in the midwest stages the action.

Land Rover BAR lie in third place after winning the first 2016 event in Oman back in February.

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Emirates Team New Zealand lead the way on 244 points, with Oracle Team USA on 236 points and Ainslie’s team on 227.

The Land Rover BAR skipper is looking forward to the new challenges the race offers.

But he knows it’s all about reeling in those above his team in the rankings.

Ainslie said: ‘The goal for each event is we want to win, ultimately that is where we want to be.

‘For the America’s Cup World Series there are some bonus points for the first and second place teams at the end of the series going into the America’s Cup finals in Bermuda.

‘Ultimately, for the end of the Series we want to be in the top two teams.

‘We are currently third behind Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand who are leading the leaderboard so we want to close in on those two teams.

‘We are really looking forward to racing, there are some new challenges, for most of us it will be the first time foiling in freshwater, for me personally the first time to race in Chicago.

‘So I’m excited about going to the city and racing in the new conditions.’

Land Rover BAR team manager, Jono Macbeth, believes Lake Michigan will make for a spectacular setting for racing.

He said: ‘Chicago looks really exciting, the set-up looks amazing.

‘Chicago has a huge sailing heritage and it’s going to be fantastic to get these high-performance boats on Lake Michigan for the first time, it should be a real spectacle.

‘What’s so exciting about Chicago is the opportunity to bring these boats and this incredible racing to a new and different location.

‘Many people in the midwest won’t have had the chance to see this kind of sailing before.’

Land Rover BAR wing trimmer, Paul Campbell-James, believes Lake Michigan will offer some high-octane action.

He said: ‘We’re really looking forward to going to Chicago.

‘I’ve never raced there before, but we’ve had a good look at the race course and it looks like there’s a good chance of some nice conditions.

‘The water will be really flat because we’re racing inside the breakwater and that’s perfect for high-speed foiling, it should be a great event.’