Who's on the crew list for this weekend's America's Cup World Series racing in Portsmouth
With the Rio Games just two weeks away, there has been a reshuffle in some of the ACWS crew lists for this weekend’s event in Portsmouth, with some big names stepping off the A-list subs bench to join the fleet.
Land Rover BAR
For Land Rover BAR this will be the third event with Ed Powys calling tactics while Giles Scott packs his bags for Rio, where he is favourite to take GBR gold in the Finn class.
Powys has the America’s Cup in his blood – his father raced in the Cup as well as the Whitbread Round the World Race – and he joined Land Rover BAR after spells on the Extreme Sailing Series, World Match Racing Tour and 49er Olympic squad.
The rest of the Land Rover BAR team need little introduction. Helmsman and team principal Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful Olympic sailor of all time with four consecutive golds and a silver in the medal collection, and a key member of Oracle Team USA’s victory last time around. And this week, new father, with the birth of his daughter Bellatrix just a few days ago.
He’s joined by Paul Campbell-James on wing trim. A talented youth sailor and match racer, ‘CJ’s’ career path was always leading towards the Cup, having helmed back-to-back Extreme Sailing Series victories before joining the Italian Luna Rossa America’s Cup team. Nick Hutton and David ‘Freddie’ Carr hail from the same background, having spent years honing their fast-cat skills on the Extreme 40 circuit, before moving to AC squads. They have all raced together and against each other for years, know each other better than most brothers, and are all proud Brits.
Emirates Team New Zealand
Two big changes on the Kiwi boat, with Olympic 49er pairing Pete Burling and Blair Tuke headed to Rio the team skipper Glenn Ashby takes over the tiller.
Meanwhile Glenn’s job as wing trimmer goes to America’s Cup veteran Ray Davies, Guy Endean moves onto headsail and Sam Bell takes on the grinding challenge. Richard Meacham will be on bow. With all but one team member out of place, Ashby said before racing began: “Expect it to look ugly at times.”
Groupama Team France
The French team has moved New Zealander Adam Minipro onto wing trim. The youngest ever skipper to win the world match racing tour swops in for Thierry Fouchier. The two have regularly alternated during Groupama’s GC32 programme to bring different skill sets to the team. Franck Cammas helms.
The biggest change of sailing with Minipro, Cammas explains, is that today they are speaking English, not French onboard. “We have changed the communication and the language on board, so we have to work on that. For sure it’s not easy and sometimes under pressure you speak directly in French to the crew! It’ll take time.”
Another helmsman change in the Swedish camp, as Francesco Bruni will make his debut driving for Artemis Racing in Portsmouth while regular helmsman Nathan Outteridge heads to Rio to defend his gold medal.
Bruni has clocked up plenty of miles sailing the Artemis Racing test or turbo boats, but doesn’t have the miles in the one-design AC45Fs. In fact he revealed after Friday’s races that today was his first outing in the boat. However, the remainder of the team is consistent, with British double Olympic gold medalist Iain Percy calling tactics, Kalle Torlén and Christian Kamp trimming, and the super-strong Luke Parkinson.
SoftBank Team Japan
No changes onboard the Japanese team, who will be hoping they can stay on a winning roll after taking their first race wins at the last event in Chicago. New Zealander Dean Barker skippers, with former British 49er sailor Chris Draper calling tactics. Experienced Kiwis Jeremy Lomas and Derek Saward will provide trim and grinding power, with Japanese team general manager ‘Fuku’ Sofuko on the bow.
Oracle Team USA
There are few introductions needed on the America’s Cup defender entry either. Jimmy Spithill drives with Olympic gold medalist Tom Slingsby providing expertise. Joe Newton trims, Sam Newton grinds, and Kyle Langford is on the wing.