Land Rover BAR Academy bring Youth America's Cup home
Sir Ben Ainslie revealed he could not be prouder of Land Rover BAR Academy winning the Youth America's Cup in Bermuda.
The fledging British team finished with 50 points after 12 races on the Great Sound and scooped the silverware in emphatic style.
The final race was a nail-biting contest but Land Rover BAR Academy – skippered by Rob Bunce – just fended off the challenge of Spanish Impulse Team to take second place and pip New Zealand Sailing Team to the title.
Ainslie’s men fell short in their mission to bring the America’s Cup back to Britain for the first time earlier this month.
But the four-time Olympic gold medallist winner was delighted for the young protagonists among his ranks.
Ainslie said: ‘We could not be prouder of the Land Rover BAR Academy winning the Youth America’s Cup.
‘All their hard work, commitment and dedication over the past 18 months has really come together on the water in Bermuda.
‘It was incredibly tense. They are a strong fleet, but I have been really impressed by the team’s onboard communication, how they kept their cool under pressure and really delivered on-the-boat handling during tricky conditions.’
Heading into the final day’s racing, Britain sat at the summit of the table.
The main danger was the Kiwis – whose senior team are currently battling it out with ORACLE Team USA for the Auld Mug.
In race one, Bunce’s crew could only muster just a fourth-place finish behind New Zealand.
Britain’s title hopes hung by a thread after race two with Land Rover BAR Academy finishing fifth and the Kiwis claiming the spoils again.
It meant Britain had to finish one place behind the New Zealand in the final race.
The Kiwis again cruised to victory but Land Rover BAR Academy battled to fend off Spain’s rallying challenge to finish runners-up and took the silverware
Strategist Annabel Vose said: ‘Going into the final race we knew New Zealand were our main opposition.
‘We wanted to go in and have a simple start, keep it clean and race our own race, but we didn’t pull off the start that we wanted.
‘All the effort we’ve put in throughout the year meant we could pull together as a team and get the results that we needed to take the win.’