LAND ROVER BAR
If ever there was a chance for Great Britain to win back the Cup, this is it. Not only did Land Rover BAR finish first overall in the America’s Cup World Series, it did so decisively: winning four of the nine regattas and only failing to make the podium twice. Then, of course, there’s the team helmsman and principal, Sir Ben Ainslie, a ferociously competitive athlete who is not only the most successful Olympic sailor of all time but was also the tactician aboard Oracle Team USA during “the comeback.” Anyone who saw him come from behind to see him win his final gold medal in the Finn class at the 2008 Olympics knows the more desperate the straits Ainslie finds himself in, the more dangerous he becomes. Beyond that, the refreshingly nationalist team, in which nearly all the sailors are British, features many other heavy hitters, including Luna Rossa campaign veteran Paul Campbell James, James’s Luna Rossa teammate Nick Hutton and defending Finn Olympic Gold medalist, Giles Scott. One possible fly in the ointment: despite years of development, Land Rover BAR’s ACC was rumored to be a bit slow. However, getting boats like these into fighting trim after their launch can be as important as actually building them—case in point, Oracle Team USA’s boat in the 34th Cup—so it would be foolish to count this bunch out. And just imagine what it would be like if the next America’s Cup actually took place on the Solent!
SIR BEN AINSLIE