Ben Ainslie, 3-time Olympic gold medalist and skipper of the British America’s Cup challenger Team Origin, publishes, quite frequently, a blog on his website, talking about the issues that affect him on a more personal level. In his latest entry, called “Racing any Olympic class boat is a unique physical challenge”, Ainslie talks about the challenges he faces in preparing for the 2012 Olympics and his aim for a fourth consecutive gold medal, but also spares some thoughts in the current developments regarding the 34th America’s Cup.
According to Ainslie, there are some points in the Protocol proposed by BMW Oracle that need “clarification” in order to ensure that the Defender doesn’t have an advantage that would make the Cup “unwinnable”. Here’s what Ainslie says about Grant Simmer, the proposed Protocol, his recent victory in the World Match Racing Tour and the upcoming 1851 Cup in Cowes:
“There have been a few changes in the TEAMORIGIN camp over the past couple of months with Grant Simmer coming in as our new CEO while we’ve also received the proposed protocol document for the next America’s Cup. Grant has so much America’s Cup experience, this will be his eighth, and he held the roles of Design Co-ordinator, and lat er MD, of Alinghi winners of the Cup in 2003 and 2007. Team meetings with Grant feel a bit like you’re at the University of the America’s Cup! He’s had an immediate impact in terms of our decision making processes and he makes sure as many people as possible are involved in decision making so that even if you don’t agree with a decision you’ve had an input and can understand better why a decision has been made.
Grant’s experience comes into its own when deciding on our responses to the AC34 Proposed Protocol Document. I’m pleased the process is moving along but after three years of investing so much time, effort, energy and finance into TEAMORIGIN we have to make sure we’ll get a fair crack at the Cup. There would be no point doing the event if it was unwinnable and there are a few clauses in the document, which at the moment, need some further clarification to make sure we’re all competing on a level playing field.
So far the lines of communication between th e Defenders, BMW Oracle, and the rest of the teams have been good and hopefully these will stay open so we can all have an input into the final format. The document also proposes some wide-ranging changes about how future events are run, the boats, race management etc , which is positive, but we have make sure it remains about the sailing and doesn’t become unbalanced and end up only about the media, commercial opportunities and sponsorship.
We had more positive news a couple of weeks ago when Myself, Iain Percy, Christian Kamp, Magnus Augustson and Matt Cornwell had a great result for the team by winning the Stena Match Cup in Sweden which is part of the World Match Racing Tour. This was really positive progress as it was highly competitive, hopefully we can compete in at least two more WMRT events this year.
Finally TEAMORIGIN will be going head-to-head with BMW Oracle in the new 1851 Cup at Cowes Week, a really exciting one-off regatta which is a great oppo rtunity for our team to take on one of, if not the, top team in the World, on home waters but also raise the profile of the TEAMORIGIN brand on the Cowes Week stage.”