Sir Ben Ainslie has officially launched his campaign and revealed the key players in his British challenge for the 35th America’s Cup - incl Video

Sir Ben Ainslie has officially launched his campaign and announced plans for a British challenge for the 35th America’s Cup. The announcement was made at the Great Hall in Greenwich in which Ainslie unveiled the key members of Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR).

His team will mount its £80million challenge through Yacht Squadron Racing, a club affiliated to the Royal Yacht Squadron. Along with it’s renowned prestige, the Royal Yacht Squadron is historically linked to the America’s Cup having run the 100 Guinea Cup in 1851 that was won by the yacht America and triggered the start of the America’s Cup.

Since returning from the 34th America’s Cup last September when he was tactician aboard the victorious American defender Oracle Team USA, Ainslie has been busy building the key elements of his campaign which has included a management and design groups, the foundations of a sailing team and most importantly, the financial backing.

Joining Sir Ben on the board of BAR, fellow yachtsmen Sir Charles Dunstone will take the role of Chairman and be joined by Sir Keith Mills. Both have been long term supporters of Ainslie’s in his goal to mount a British challenge and were quick to throw their support behind the new team. Dunstone and Mills were also key players in Team Origin’s Cup campaign back in 2007 and know only too well how tricky it can be to plan for a Cup campaign after having to abort Team Origin’s plans when a legal dispute derailed the 33rd Cup.

The board is also joined by businessmen Jon Wood and Chris Bake who is the current RC44 Championship Tour winner with Team Aqua. In addition, Robert Elliott, senior partner and Chairman of Linklaters and Lord Michael Grade, the former controller of BBC, ITV and Channel 4 and keen yachtsman are two independent board members.

Aside from the board members who each have commercial interests in the team, the group of private investors includes Ian Taylor, Peter Dubens and Lord Irvine Laidlaw.

BAR’s technical and sailing team also includes considerable talent and experience.

TECHNICAL TEAM
BAR’s technical team includes:

Andy Claughton:
Technical director Claughton is director of enterprise at the Wolfson Unit for Marine Technology at Southampton University and has considerable Cup experience, having worked as design co-ordinator for Team New Zealand for two campaigns along with numerous technical roles within Cup teams stretching back to 1983.

Jason Ker
Leading yacht designer with extensive experience in VPP modeling.

Clay Oliver
Technical Cup experience runs back to Dennis Conner’s Stars and Stripes campaign in 1987.

Dirk Kramers
Three times winner of the America’s Cup and one of Oracle’s lead designers last time around.

Rodrigo Azcueta
CFD expert previously with JK Yacht Design.

Benjamin Muyl
Engineered Groupama’s impressive foiling C Class cat and worked with Emirates Team New Zealand last time.

Luc du Bois
Specialises in data collection and worked with the previously successful Alinghi and ETNZ campaigns.

James Stagg
Stagg will be the shore manager and has both considerable Cup experience and has worked and sailed with Ainslie extensively in the past.

SAILING TEAM
Interestingly Ainslie’s sailing team is not as extensive as you might expect, the rationale being that there is still plenty of time to assemble key sailors, particularly as 2015 & 2016 seasons will be raced in AC45s with just five crew. Even when the team gets to build its AC62, assuming BAR is successful in getting through to the Challenger Trials in 2017, the new crew limit for the 62foot foiling cats is just eight, down from eleven.

Sailing team includes:

Ben Ainslie
Jono McBeth – Who is also the sailing team manager and who sailed with Ainslie in the last Cup.
David ‘Freddie’ Carr
Nick Hutton
Matt Cornwell
Andrew McClean

BASE

Having set up initially in Whiteley, Fareham the team will move to a purpose built base in Camber Quay, Portsmouth from the summer of 2015 when the building is expected to be completed.

AINSLIE’S VIEWS
To find out more about Ainslie’s thinking behind his team and how BAR is planning the next three years see the July issue of Yachting World, out now in the magazine and digital.

Related Stories:

35th America’s Cup Announced
http://www.yachtingworld.com/performance-world/news/536656/35th-america-s-cup-announced