Re­turn to mono­hulls ex­cit­ing time for Ainslie

Herald on Sunday - - IN OTHER NEWS -

More com­pe­ti­tion may be in store for Team New Zealand af­ter the re­cently an­nounced changes to the Amer­ica’s Cup.

The re­turn to mono­hulls could see a greater chal­lenge from Bri­tain’s Land Rover BAR. The team’s skip­per Sir Ben Ainslie said he was ex­cited the com­pe­ti­tion was re­vert­ing to the tra­di­tional ap­proach.

“I am ex­cited about the re­turn to mono­hulls. Although I favoured stick­ing with mul­ti­hulls — as in my view the rac­ing out in Ber­muda in May and June was spec­tac­u­lar and we, in com­mon with a num­ber of other teams, felt that con­ti­nu­ity at this time would be good for the sport as a whole — I do not deny that this new class of boat can be sim­i­larly spec­tac­u­lar,” Ainslie wrote in a col­umn for the Daily Tele­graph.

In the col­umn, Ainslie high­lighted the ways in which the changes, in­clud­ing the new na­tion­al­ity rules, could ben­e­fit his team’s chances.

“A lot of the de­sign and sail­ing team at Land Rover BAR have back­grounds — mine in­cluded — in mono­hulls and I know that it is go­ing to be amaz­ing to sail these new boats once they are built.

“Some as­pects may prove more costly, such as the new na­tion­al­ity rule, which will re­quire at least 20 per cent of the to­tal crew to be ‘true na­tion­als’ and the rest com­pli­ant with ‘res­i­dency rules’ [380 days liv­ing in the chal­lenger’s coun­try],” wrote Ainslie.

“The na­tion­al­ity rule ac­tu­ally suits Land Rover BAR from a com­pet­i­tive stand­point as most of our team and sailors are al­ready Bri­tish. But for teams who do not have the req­ui­site skill set al­ready re­sid­ing within their coun­try, it will be an added cost.” Ainslie ad­mit­ted it will be a dif­fi­cult task as he de­clared his in­ten­tion to chal­lenge for the Auld Mug in 2021. “The Amer­ica’s Cup is the hard­est tro­phy to win in world sport, and it’s likely that we will be trav­el­ling half­way around the world to com­pete on the home waters of the world’s most suc­cess­ful mod­ern Amer­ica’s Cup team.

“Team New Zealand have been in all six of the openly con­tested Cups since 1995, and they have won three of them.

“So we don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the chal­lenge — it is im­mense — but we will call on the very best of Bri­tish tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion through our part­ners, and use that Bri­tish fight­ing spirit.”

Sir Ben Ainslie will call on the best of Bri­tish tech­nol­ogy for the 2021 Amer­ica’s Cup chal­lenge in Auck­land.

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