Ainslie’s Chicago cheer as crew raise the BAR

Land Rover BAR Picture: Lloyd Images
Land Rover BAR Picture: Lloyd Images
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SIR Ben Ainslie praised the ‘incredible job’ of his Land Rover BAR crew as they enjoyed a super Sunday in Chicago to move up to second in the overall America’s Cup World Series standings.

The result puts the Portsmouth-based crew in striking position ahead of their home waters event next month – July 21-24.

The team are even on 285 points with Oracle Team USA – but take second on the tie-break – and are just 10 points behind Emirates Team New Zealand.

A repeat of their 2015 hometown win will set up a fantastic duel going into the final straight of the 2016 season.

Ainslie was delighted with the performance of his crew on Lake Michigan, as thoughts immediately turned to Portsmouth.

He said: ‘What can I say, it was brilliant racing, and it’s great to showcase the sport this way, and show how good it can be.

‘The guys onboard did an incredible job, in these conditions it’s all about boat handling and the fitness required.

‘I can’t say enough about the boys and the great job they did.

‘The starts are harder than it looks, we’ve been practicing a lot as the starts are critical to this style of racing.

‘We had two crackers, especially the last one which was really important.

‘Now we’re getting to the business end of the series, it’s tight between ourselves, Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA.

‘So we’re all really excited about the next event in Portsmouth.

‘To perform so well in front of a home crowd last year is what it’s all about for us – we can’t wait for the event.

‘Last year was just incredible, hopefully we can repeat, looking forward to brilliant conditions for Portsmouth.’

Three races in perfect full-power foiling conditions saw Land Rover BAR grab second in Chicago with a brilliant move on the finish of the final race.

The first race saw a wire-to-wire win for Ben Ainslie and his crew as they delivered a perfect start and were never headed.

Race two was a lot tougher, with a second row start they dropped back to sixth after the second leg, but clawed back precious points with a fourth place finish.

The team were second in the standings going into the final race, and another incredible start saw four boats going bow to bow into mark one.

Three of them then took boundary penalties as they smoked onto leg two, including Land Rover BAR.

Once again the team dug deeper than anyone else, and fought back to snatch second place on the line.

Today’s impressive action arrived after racing failed to take place on Saturday as the wind didn’t materialise in the hot sun of Lake Michigan.

There was consolation for the global television audience who were treated to the action from Friday’s designated substitute race which counted as the opening score.

It wasn’t a great outing for Land Rover BAR who, despite a strong position going into the final lap, finished fifth.