Sir Ben Ainslie toasted Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series glory but immediately turned his sights on the ultimate prize.
Land Rover BAR claimed overall victory in the two-year competition with another eye-catching performance in Japan.
The Portsmouth-based side clinched their fourth victory of the intense series by finishing top, via a tie-break, in Fukuoka with Artemis Racing.
That gave nearest challengers, Oracle Team USA, no chance of overhauling the 14-point deficit that separated the two teams in the overall standings going into the weekend’s six races.
The regatta in Asia – the continent’s first hosting of the World Series – marked the end of a long process that began back in Portsmouth in 2015, when BAR hosted the opening event.
Ainslie admitted he was proud of the commitment shown by the team, which was only set up two-and-a-half-years ago, to secure such a famous victory.
But he stressed there was still much to do, with attentions now turning to Bermuda next year and the 35th running of the America’s Cup.
‘It was an amazing day for the team because our core goal was to win the overall series, that is what we came here to do,’ said Ainslie.
‘To achieve that and come out on top in the final event to get four regatta wins in the overall series, that is a huge achievement from a completely new team.
‘Two-and-a-half-years ago we had absolutely nothing, so what we have achieved in building the team, the infrastructure, and this performance in the World Series is something we should all be incredibly proud of – but at the same time it’s just one step in our journey to the America’s Cup.
‘Our objective was to get the two bonus points and we’ve got that, and now the focus is clearly on the race boat and the performance next summer in Bermuda.
‘I am absolutely delighted by how things have gone, but at the same time I know our team and how focused they are on the America’s Cup.
‘We will be straight into training in Bermuda and getting best prepared for the America’s Cup to try and bring it home after a 167 years of hurt.’
The two points BAR secured for topping the table will stand them in good stead for the qualifying series in Bermuda next May and June and the right to take on reigning champions Oracle Team USA in the final.
The team will also be boosted by they way they finished the job off and stretched their lead over the Americans with their performance in Fukuoka.
They improved on their lead at the top by a point following first, second and third-place finishes on day one in Japan.
And the margin of victory was extended to 19 points at the conclusion of day two, with the Portsmouth side’s fourth, second and third finishes ensuring victory and the World Series.
Fukuoka standings: 1 Land Rover BAR (75 points),
2 Artemis Racing (75), 3 Oracle Team USA (70),
4 Emirates Team New Zealand (65), 5 Softbank Team Japan (61),
6 Groupama Team France (59)
Overall standings: Land Rover BAR (512 points),
2 Oracle Team USA (493), 3 Emirates Team New Zealand (485),
4 Artemis Racing (466), 5 Softbank Team Japan (460), 6 Groupama Team France (419)