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Displaying items by tag: America's cup

#AmericasCup - Sir Ben Ainslie's America's Cup team is already a serious prospect where it counts on the water. But now they're stepping up on the business side of things after signing former McLaren F1 team principal Martin Whitmarsh to lead the charge.

As reports, Whitmarsh will join Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) as chief executive next month – marking the second significant connection between high-performance yachting and Formula 1 after BAR's partnership with Red Bull Racing's chief designer Adrian Newey.

“I’m delighted that Martin is joining us," said Sir Ben in a statement on the announcement earlier this month. "When we first started to put together the plan for BAR, McLaren were one of the aspirations.

“So it’s particularly appropriate to have one of the original architects of that model as our new CEO."

Whitmarsh joins BAR after 25 years with McLaren, during which he worked up the ranks to CEO of the McLaren Group but is best remembered for his stint as the company's F1 team boss from 2009 to 2013, when he was ousted after an uncompetitive season.

He will take the reins of a hopeful upstart team that's already taken to the waters of Bermuda where the next America's Cup racing will get underway two years from now.

But according to My Sailing, their training will also be conducted on dry land thanks to the latest 3D simulation technology borrowed, appropriately, from the F1 world.

The virtual reality simulator was developed by Dr James Roche, himself a former McLaren employee, who used similar tech to help Lizzy Yarnold to Olympic gold for Britain at Sochi earlier this year.

My Sailing has more on the story HERE.

Published in America's Cup

#benainslie – Ben Ainslie Racing were the first America's Cup team both on – and under – the race course waters of the 35th America's Cup last week, when the team conducted an initial training camp in Bermuda.

"It's been great for the team to get out on the water, trying to learn about the venue, the wind direction, the wave states in our 20 foot foiling training boats," commented Team Principal and Skipper, Ben Ainslie. "A huge amount has been learnt, and we can now go back to our design team and start working on developing the final race boat for 2017."

"We turned up here with preconceived ideas about everything," added Sailing Manager, Jono Macbeth. "But it's not until you actually step foot on the island that you get a feel for what's going on. It's going to be completely different compared to last Cup where the wind direction was the same every single day. Here we have seen wind from just about every corner.

"We're just learning all the time. It's invaluable that we are here, especially as the first team on this race course. It's a statement that we are serious about the competition ahead of us. The atmosphere here in anticipation of the America's Cup is incredible," continued Macbeth, "Everyone on the island is so into it. This year is just going to fly by."

"Bermuda is just the most beautiful island," said Ben, "the people are so warm and friendly and are really excited about having the America's Cup here. As a sailing venue it is a real challenge, it is such a tight course and the wind is really variable out here in the middle of the Atlantic."

The major objective of the training camp was to learn the local conditions, and raise foiling skills, but Ben Williams, Head of Strength and Conditioning ensured that the Sailing Team got an extensive work out as well.

"It's been great for us as a sailing team to get away," said Ben. "It's almost been a military operation, our fitness trainer is an ex-Marine and pushing us pretty hard in the morning and evenings. And out on the water we have been sailing and training very hard – but bonding as a team, being away and really focusing on sailing and training."

"I really wanted to make sure that we were using our time wisely out there so we are doing two training sessions in the gym and sailing the boats five or six hours every day," said Macbeth. "There's really not a huge amount of time for the boys to do anything except eat, train and go sailing." Williams unique methods included an opportunity to properly test the depths of Bermudian waters

Published in America's Cup

#AmericasCup - Sir Ben Ainslie's next bid for the America's Cup may have secured the backing of Sir Richard Brandon's Virgin empire, as the Daily Telegraph reports.

It's understood that the billionaire businessman and adventurer – who recently hosted the Olympic sailing legend and his new wife, TV presenter Georgie Thompson, at his Necker Island retreat in the Caribbean – has been asked to invest in Sir Ben's namesake team BAR, set up to represent Britain at the next America's Cup race in Bermuda in 2017.

It's not surprising that Sir Richard might take an interest, being as famous for his past transatlantic and ballooning escapes as he is for his business ventures.

And he would be in good company, with Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone among those who have already pledged financial support to the British sailing bid on the heels of Sir Ben's successful turnaround of Oracle Team USA in last summer's dramatic head-to-head in San Francisco.

The Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in America's Cup

#americascup – HRH Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, visited the America's Cup World Series Portsmouth (ACWS Portsmouth) display at the London Boat Show, to support Ben Ainslie Racing and the America's Cup World Series events planned between 23 – 26 July 2015.

The ACWS Portsmouth events will be managed and delivered by 'TEAMORIGIN Events', a company set up and chaired by Sir Keith Mills, the man central to the delivery of some of the UK's greatest sporting events, most recently as Deputy Chairman of London 2012 and Chairman of 'Invictus Games'.

During HRH Princess Anne's visit, Sir Keith Mills outlined details of the Portsmouth event:

"The ACWS Portsmouth will be a spectacular event for Britain. One of our main aims is to provide a sporting event that will benefit Portsmouth by bringing huge visitor numbers into the city to experience the racing. To bring in the masses, we have to provide cost effective entertainment for all budgets and we have been working hard to firm up the event schedule and ticketing structure."

Mills continued, "Portsmouth will become a hive of activity with its key locations such as the Spinnaker Tower and Historic Dockyard incorporated within the event to showcase the city in all its glory. The event officially starts on Thursday 23rd July with the teams taking part in a F1 style paddock day. All ACWS teams will set up their boats in a publicly visible area inside the Historic Dockyard and Royal Navy Base. This is a fascinating visible process and a fantastic opportunity to see the amazing race boats, teams and sailors close-up. Friday 24th July, is the official race training day and the first opportunity for the teams to test their skills on Portsmouth waters. Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th July is when the points scoring action begins with the official race days. Both days will count and be vitally important for the teams in their quest for glory in the 35th America's Cup. This will be a unique opportunity for the British public, Portsmouth is truly opening its doors to local and visiting public and all sporting fans."

Sir Ben ​Ainslie,​ HRH The​ Princes​s Royal ​and Sir ​Keith Mi​lls at t​he Londo​n Boat S​how

A key ethos for the ACWS Portsmouth team is bringing the action closer to the fans. This includes a full entertainment programme which will run throughout the event days alongside live broadcasting of the racing. For those that really want to come and immerse themselves in the sailing and racing action and everything that goes on in the world of America's Cup, there will be a dedicated and ticketed 'fan zone' and a world class 'hospitality pavilion' where visitors, sponsors and guests can get truly involved and watch the racing close up with live expert commentary.

During the London Boat Show, ACWS Portsmouth Event Director, Leslie Greenhalgh outlined the ticketing, hospitality and commercial plans:

"The best possible viewing and engagement experience will be watching the racing from the 'race village' on Southsea Common and the dedicated 'fan zone' and 'hospitality pavilion'. This is all about "America's Cup racing coming to shore". There will be giant screens, live commentary and the racing will be literally metres off the Common. Racing will take place in the main shipping channel in an area of water carefully managed by the Queen's Harbour Master. For safety and traffic management reasons, there will be a tightly controlled exclusion zone around the race course and so we will be designating various levels of 'spectator boat' zones. The spectator boat packages, access flags and options will be published alongside the land based ticket and hospitality options. We urge any visitors not commit to any packages that are not endorsed by TEAMORIGIN/ACWS Portsmouth. All details and tickets will go live in February 2015."

Greenhalgh added: "An event of this magnitude offers numerous opportunities for brands and businesses to become commercially involved and we are currently in discussion with a number of partners interested in the event sponsorship and supplier partnerships. This is an amazing opportunity for UK brands and businesses to associate their brand with this exciting event. We urge attracted parties to get into touch with our commercial team."

Sir Keit​h Mills ​and Sir ​Ben Ains​lie at t​he Londo​n Boat S​how

Rob Andrews, the London 2012 Sailing Venue Manager, has taken on the role of Race Director for the ACWS Portsmouth and will work alongside the America's Cup Event Authority to deliver the racing. Rob provided a preview of the exciting racing coming to Portsmouth:

"The first difference people will notice, since the last ACWS events, is that the AC45 boats will now be foiling – literally flying above the water. The vulnerability of the foils makes margins between getting it right and wrong on the race course very small. This means numerous position changes during racing which creates lots of excitement. My role is to deliver good, solid races for the sailors whilst also giving the viewing public action-packed entertainment 50-100 meters from the shore. We learned a lot from the London 2012 Olympic Sailing medal races and how close we could get the racing to people on shore without being detrimental to the standard of racing for the sailors. The Portsmouth course and proximity of the race village on Southsea Common is the perfect solution for this type of racing and we cannot wait to deliver it to the fans and spectators. Whether you are a sailing fan or just coming down to join in the festival atmosphere and to take a look at these boats, it will be exciting and you do not want to miss it."

Over 500,000 visitors are expected to visit Portsmouth during the event and TEAMORIGIN are looking to secure volunteers to ensure they deliver a tremendous experience for all involved. The Event Volunteer Engagement Programme will be launched in February 2015. TEAMORIGIN will be looking to engage around 60 people in 'on water' delivery and a further 300 volunteers to ensure local people get involved and help to deliver this spectacular event. Anyone who would like to express interest in volunteering can email: [email protected]

The count down to the 2015 ACWS Portsmouth (23-26 July 2015) has begun. For more information: visit

Published in America's Cup
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#SirBenAinslie - America's Cup team head Sir Ben Ainslie had a bit of a slip-up during his Caribbean honeymoon recently when his yacht broke down near Richard Branson's private island.

As Yachting & Boat World reports, the Olympic sailor and America's Cup hero had to be rescued by Branson's watersports team after a malfunction of the mainsail on his yacht Rita - putting it on a deadly course with a jagged reef.

But the team's quick action avoided disaster and Sir Ben was able to enjoy the rest of his island getaway with new wife, TV presenter Georgie Thompson.

Once the honeymoon is over, though, Sir Ben will be hard at work preparing for the next America's Cup in 2017 with his namesake team BAR – which recently announced a long-term partnership with renewable energy asset management firm Low Carbon Investment.

Published in America's Cup

#bar – The Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) team says Britain's sailing superstar is leading the sporting world in sustainability, in its bid to bring the 35th America's Cup to the UK.

The sailing team, formed by Olympic multi-gold medallist Ben Ainslie, is announcing a long-term partnership with renewables investor Low Carbon. The partnership will provide the team with clean energy as it develops its 2017 bid for the world's oldest international sporting trophy.

Low Carbon will ensure the team's headquarters – currently under construction on the Camber in Portsmouth – is powered by the very latest, high efficiency solar photovoltaic (PV) technology. The initial target is to supply 90% of the team's electricity power needs, with this improving to 100% once energy monitoring is implemented.

Low Carbon is committed to mitigating climate change by encouraging, wherever possible, the reduction of carbon emissions. Investing capital into renewable energy, the firm's investment model embraces solar PV, concentrated solar power, wind and bio-waste technologies. Within less than four years, Low Carbon has developed more than 270MW of UK solar power. A broader international portfolio exceeding 2GW is in the pipeline.

The partnership will greatly support BAR's efforts to run a sustainable business with clean energy. It will also see the team's HQ accorded BREEAM 'Excellent' status – the hallmark of excellence in sustainable building. The BAR HQ is expected to be completed in the summer of 2015.

Commenting on the partnership, Low Carbon's Founder and Chief Executive Roy Bedlow said: "I'm very excited by this long-term partnership, and with the prospect of making a key contribution to a true British success story. With Low Carbon and BAR sharing an ethos of sustainability, responsibility and mitigating the effects of climate change, I believe that together we can continue to make a difference for the better, long into the future."

BAR's Team Principal, four-time Olympic medallist and America's Cup winner, Ben Ainslie commented, "We're delighted to be onboard with Low Carbon, and this new partnership takes us a long way towards our goal of sustainable, clean energy for our new base."

Bedlow adds: "This project has exciting implications for renewable energy. Because the BAR philosophy is about educating and engaging locally, the project will be a fantastic showcase for how large buildings can be almost entirely sustainable."

In a separate initiative, Roy Bedlow is joining the board of the team's charity as a Trustee. Launched in October 2014, the 1851 Trust seeks to inspire and engage a new generation through sailing and the marine industry, providing young people with the education, skills and training required to become innovators of the future, and stewards of the marine environment.

Published in America's Cup

#AmericasCup - America's Cup holders Oracle Team USA are being sued by a New Zealand sailor over accusations that he illegally altered a catamaran used in a warm-up race.

Matt Mitchell was suspended for the first four races of last summer's series in San Francisco amid a cheating scandal that rocked Larry Ellison's team and led to an "unprecedented" raft of penalties levelled against the eventual race winners.

But as reports, Mitchell has filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court seeking his legal fees plus special damages for what he argued was his team's failure to indemnify under the California Legal Code.

Mitchell says he "sustained and continues to sustain substantial economic damages" as a result of the penalties, which also saw crewman Dirk de Ridder banned from the America's Cup and suspended by the ISAF for five years - lately reduced to 18 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. has more on the story HERE.

Published in America's Cup

#AmericasCup - Though the official announcement is still a week away, speculation is growing that Bermuda will be chosen as host for the 2017 America's Cup.

But as reports, the rumour comes as a major blow to San Diego's hopes of welcoming the event.

It seems the issue is simply down to the matter of money, with a tourism chief from the Southern Californian city quoted as saying that "when it came down to it, Bermuda was the destination Larry [Ellison] needed to choose."

Ellison - head of software giant Oracle - was the backer of the current cup holders Oracle Team USA, which won in spectacular fashion last year.

And the financial incentives of hosting the event in the Caribbean tax haven are hard to ignore, even in spite of San Diego's storied legacy in sailing. has more on the story HERE.

Published in America's Cup

#AmericasCup - Olympic sailing legend Sir Ben Ainslie confirmed his backing of a British contingent among the six entries in the next America's Cup, as announced at a press conference today.

But it's not yet confirmed if he will be one of the crew on board, as he was when he helped Oracle Team USA to the 'Auld Mug' almost a year ago.

Bloomberg has more on the press gathering in London, at which Ainslie spoke of his wish to "bring the America's Cup home" when the yachts get racing in 2017 at a venue still to be decided after Team Australia pulled out over the summer.

Indeed, next time out 'Sir Ben' will go head to head with the team he led to a remarkable comeback victory last year in San Francisco.

However, as the Western Morning News reports, the Olympian is was tight-lipped about his own involvement on the team, only commenting that it would be "predominantly British" and would comprise "experienced guys who have been successful in the cup and some younger talent coming through, particularly British talent."

He added: "If we were going racing tomorrow I would be steering the boat but that might not be the answer in a couple of years’ time."

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#AmericasCup - An inquest into the death of Andrew 'Bart' Simpson while training for the America's Cup last summer has ruled the tragic incident as an accident, as the Bournemouth Echo reports.

The sailing world was shocked a year ago by the loss of the British double Olympic medallist, who became trapped underneath the capsized Artemis Racing AC72 catamaran he was crewing with 10 others in San Francisco Bay.

Last October the official medical examiner's report found Simpson's death was caused by "blunt trauma and drowning" after the vessel capsized and broke apart, dealing him multiple blows to the head.

Statements read out at Bournemouth Coroner’s Court described the scene as Simpson's teammates and emergency workers made desperate attempts to free him from under the wreckage, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

In his conclusion of accidental death, Dorset assistant coroner Richard Middleton said that he was satisfied the cause of death "arose directly as a consequence of some deliberate human act which had unexpectedly and unintentionally taken a turn which had led to his death."

The Bournemouth Echo has more on the story HERE.

Published in America's Cup
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.


The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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