Archive | Ben Ainslie

Portsmouth to host two years of spectacular America’s Cup World Series Racing

Posted on 25 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: TeamOrigin] On 25 November 2014, Sir Keith Mills GBE announced that America’s Cup Racing is to return to British waters when the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) takes place in Portsmouth 23-26 July 2015 and 21–24 July 2016.  Sir Keith has been 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’. The ACWS Portsmouth will be managed by TEAMORIGIN Events, a company set up by Sir Keith Mills in 2007.

Speaking during this morning’s launch event at London’s OXO Tower, Sir Keith said: “I’m passionate about bringing world-class sporting events to Great Britain, and delighted that America’s Cup World Series racing will be coming to Portsmouth. This will not just be a spectacular sporting event, it will also showcase Portsmouth, the South Coast and Great Britain on a global stage, delivering economic benefit to the City and the sponsors involved. The series will attract huge crowds to watch the exhilarating racing and we plan to give the event a festival feel bringing activities and entertainment for all.

Sir Ben Ainslie and Sir Keith Mills. London. 25th November 2014.ACWS Portsmouth Communications Team

Sir Ben Ainslie and Sir Keith Mills. London. 25th November 2014.ACWS Portsmouth Communications Team

“Our plans are for more than two action packed long week-ends. We are also putting together a three year activation programme running right up until the end of the 35th America’s Cup in 2017. We look forward to delivering a world class sporting event for Great Britain.”

The ACWS is the preliminary race series of the 35th America’s Cup, consisting of eight to ten regattas taking place around the world during 2015 and 2016. All America’s Cup teams will compete in the series and their overall placement will affect the seeding and starting score they take into the America’s Cup Qualifier events in 2017.

“The America’s Cup World Series events in Portsmouth in 2015 and 2016 are an opportunity for British fans to watch world class America’s Cup teams compete and of course support Ben Ainslie Racing as they compete on home waters,” said Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner of the America’s Cup. “I know Ben joins all the competitors in their goal to bring the America’s Cup back to their home country and racing in the America’s Cup World Series is a first step towards that end.”

Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) is the British challenger for the 35th America’s Cup, and have their home base in Portsmouth. Team Principal and four-time Olympic gold medallist, Sir Ben Ainslie said: “A key part of BAR’s plans was to bring America’s Cup racing to Great Britain and I would like to thank Sir Keith and his team for making those plans become a reality. The last ACWS was a game changer for the sport of sailing, the racing was entertaining and brought in the crowds. The new foiling AC45s are going to be faster and even more exciting than the previous generation and we promise to provide an event experience like you have never seen before – come and cheer us on!”

The City of Portsmouth has a significant role to play and the event will encompass most of the City’s existing visitor destinations including HMS Warrior and Victory, the Mary Rose Museum, the Spinnaker Tower, Gunwharf Quays and Southsea Common. Spectators will enjoy three days of racing, including practice racing on the Friday and then two races on Saturday and two races on ‘Super Sunday Final’.

ACWS Portsmouth Map. ACWS Portsmouth Communications Team

ACWS Portsmouth Map. ACWS Portsmouth Communications Team

The events will be funded by a combination of private investment, sponsorship, suppliers and media partnerships. Previous ACWS events have been commercially successful and the ambition is to grow the value of the events by offering sponsors branding and visibility, media impact, hospitality for clients and employees, and tickets for public entertainment.

Speaking at the launch, BAR Chairman Sir Charles Dunstone outlined the commercial opportunities of the ACWS in Portsmouth: “Sport is big business. The last America’s Cup saw more than 150 companies involved in significant sponsorships or supplier partnerships with the event or competing teams. The last time the ACWS came to Britain was Plymouth in 2011 and we saw 150,000 live spectators and the economic value and media impact of the event was estimated at £60m. By securing the commercial and marketing rights of these events we can offer a wider and more diverse range of opportunities to businesses and media to get involved, generate value and gain benefit from what will be an incredible sporting spectacle. ”

One of the key objectives of the organisers of ACWS Portsmouth will be to bring the action to the public with ‘free-to-view’ areas in the Race Village where spectators can enjoy the atmosphere, and watch the racing. There will also be additional opportunities to buy tickets for specific attractions, prime seating areas, exhibitions and hospitality. Further ticketing information will be released in the New Year.

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Ainslie’s Olympic class successor joins Ben Ainslie Racing

Posted on 05 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: BAR Racing] Anyone who followed the build-up to the 2012 Olympic Games will remember that the biggest hurdle to Ben Ainslie’s historic fourth gold medal was another Brit by the name of Giles Scott. Their rivalry was one of the most compelling stories of the lead-up to the London 2012 Olympics – a classic narrative as Scott, the apprentice and former training partner, attempted to unseat the dominant figure of the previous generation, and win the single Team GBR place at the Games.

History records that Ainslie won selection, and then won his fourth gold medal. But Giles Scott used his time wisely; he raced with Luna Rossa in their 2013 America’s Cup campaign, and this summer won the Finn Olympic Class World Championship in Santander. Scott is now a firm favourite for gold in Rio 2016, and will be a key member of the British America’s Cup team, Ben Ainslie Racing.

The British sailors train on the team's Nacra F20. (С) BAR Racing

The British sailors train on the team’s Nacra F20. (С) BAR Racing

Their story began much earlier than most people realise, right back when Scott was a talented junior.
“The first time I met him was years and years ago,” recalled Scott when he came in to the BAR offices to sign his contract. “I was doing a National Junior event. I was with the Northampton team, and Ben came and did a talk. I think I would have been about ten years old, sailing with my older brother. I didn’t talk to him, but I think I got a sweater signed by him!”

“We crossed paths at various events after that,” he went on, “but it was when I started sailing the Finn (the Olympic class boat in which Ainslie won his final three gold medals) that I really got to know him. It was 2006 when he came back to the boat – after two years away – to prepare for the 2008 Games. I was one of the youngest members of the Finn squad and still at University, and Ben was the figurehead.”

Ainslie remembers that time clearly. “It was a lot of fun because they were talented guys who were enjoying learning to sail a new class of boat, and for me it was refreshing having some young, motivated guys there to train with – so it worked very well. And Giles was the stand-out talent of that group.” Scott was the ISAF Youth World Champion in the single-handed class in 2005. “They didn’t really have any expectations of the 2008 Olympics,” added Ainslie, “but then with me moving away into the America’s Cup, it was a different story when I came back in 2010. They were that much older, and really going for the 2012 Games.”

Thanks to the idiosyncrasies of the Olympic rules, only one person per nation can compete in each of the ten sailing events. Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott were — by any reasonable measure — the best two athletes in their class in the world. Scott was World Champion in 2011; while Ainslie was World Champion (for the sixth time) in 2012. But because they were both British, only one of them could go to the Games.

Scott and Campbell-James train on the Nacra F20. BAR Racing

Scott and Campbell-James train on the Nacra F20. BAR Racing

“The thing is about Giles,” said Ainslie, “he’s a really nice guy, and I remember saying to him in the build-up to 2008 that it’s great to be nice, but you also have to learn to stand-up for yourself and not let people push you around. Of course, he’d really taken that to heart and so it was a slightly different story for 2012 when he was going for the Olympics. And quite rightly, he needed to stand up for himself. He had just as much right as anybody else to that spot.”

“There was a switch in my mentality,” said Scott. “I had to switch from having Ben on a pedestal, to seeing him as a competitor that I wanted to beat. There was no switch in the way that we operated off the water, but on the water there was a definite transition. He was always trying to assert the dominance that he had always had, and I was constantly trying to break that down.”

The two men went head-to-head in the events that Team GBR had defined for the selection process. “I won a lot of the events in the build-up to the start of the selection events,” reflected Scott, “and then [when it came to the selections] Ben was at the top of his game and he ticked all the boxes, while I finished second.” The rest is history, Ainslie got the spot on the British team, went to the London Olympics and, under almost unimaginable pressure, won his fourth gold.

“The one good thing that came out of it was that it opened up the America’s Cup doorway,” commented Scott. He started sailing with Team Korea, and then Luna Rossa offered him a place on their sailing team.

Flying past Calshot Spit into the Solent. BAR Racing

Flying past Calshot Spit into the Solent. BAR Racing

 

“All the guys you speak to at Luna Rossa only have good things to say about Giles and how he fitted in with the team,” said Ainslie. “And that’s one of the reasons why we wanted him to be part of this team. There are a handful of sailors of his generation in the world that stand out as really a cut above the rest, and Giles is clearly one of those. We have been very selective about the people that we have brought in; we know that they will gel with the team. And with Giles, it was a ‘no-brainer’. A good team player and a winner. We are very excited about him being with us.”

Scott has continued where Ainslie left off, and now dominates the single-handed men’s Finn class, recently winning the 2014 World Championships with clear blue water between him and the pack. It’s obvious that Scott has unfinished business with that Finn gold medal, and doesn’t intend to let it slip away again.

Combining America’s Cup sailing with the Olympics is something that Ainslie knows all about, but how does Scott think he will fare? “I’m hoping it will be easy to integrate the two, and achieve my Olympic goals and have a positive impact on the Cup. It’s an amazing project to be involved in. I’m just feeling very excited about getting my teeth into it and trying to make it all happen.”

Stephen ‘Sparky’ Parks, RYA Olympic Manager, agrees joining BAR is a positive move for Scott, “Joining BAR is a great option for Giles. No one understands what it takes to win an Olympic medal better than Ben Ainslie – and that will help to ensure that Giles gets the job done in Rio before focussing exclusively on the America’s Cup. Giles will be able to draw on Ben’s experience to ensure he keeps the Finn Olympic Gold medal in GBR hands, where it has been since 2000. Equally, Ben knows Giles well, and he knows he will bring a host of raw sailing skills to the BAR programme.”

And what about working with Ben after all those bruising encounters on the water? “It’s very useful to have been through that, because if two people were ever going to fall out over something, it would be over an Olympic selection – you are battling each other for your dream. Going forward from that, I have a knowledge of him and how he performs – what he likes, what he doesn’t like – you just know each other, so I think it can only be a positive thing,” concluded Scott.

Giles Scott – Fact file
Date of Birth: 23rd June 1987
Place of Birth: Huntingdon
Current Home: Weymouth
Major Titles: ISAF Youth World Champion 2005; Finn World Champion 2011 and 2014; Finn European Champion 2011 and 2014; Rio Olympic Test Event 2014.

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Ben Ainslie Racing flies in Southampton

Posted on 22 October 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source:Ben Ainslie Racing] On 22th October Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) took to the water for the first time from their temporary base in Southampton, sailing their foiling AC45. The boat originally raced under BAR colours during the America’s Cup World Series in 2012-13, and has subsequently been modified to fly on hydrofoils.

Team Principal and Skipper, Ben Ainslie commented, “Ten months ago we had nothing, so to be out there today foiling in one of these boats – after such a short time frame – is the result of a huge amount of effort from all of the team, especially the shore team and the designers.

For us sailors it’s a real privilege to get out there and sail one of these boats. It’s been a great first day and it’s a good start, but it’s only a start and we have a lot of work to do over the coming months.”

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Ben Ainslie’s blog

Posted on 19 July 2010 by Valencia Sailing

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.”

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Stena Match Cup Sweden hosts the world’s 10 top match racers

Posted on 05 July 2010 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: World Match Racing Tour] Stena Match Cup Sweden, Stage 5 of the ISAF World Match Racing Tour, has attracted an abundance of the World’s leading men’s and women’s match racers. They are all magnetized year after year to the racing hot spot of Marstrand for guaranteed packed out days of pure match racing perfection.

Since 2000 when the ISAF World Match Racing Tour founded, the Swedish leg of the series has had a distinguished role of honour including esteemed America’s Cup names; Dean Barker, Russell Coutts, Chris Law, Peter Gilmour, Mattias Rahm and Björn Hansen.

Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing won Stena Match Cup Sweden last year and has now notched up and incredible 7 overall victories at this event since its inaugural year in 1994. Gilmour is poised for the podium again after having also won Stage 4 of this year’s Tour only 8 days ago and looks committed to continue his fierce fighting style into this week’s semis and finals.

Ben Ainslie and Team Origin practicing before their first participation this year in the World Match Racing Tour. Masrtrand, 5 July 2010. Photo copyright Loris von Siebenthal – myimage

The Swedish national contingent as expected is also massive this year. Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Sigma Racing Team who is the very essence of Stena Match Cup Sweden having instilled the sense of excitement and profile building over the years will definitely be a skipper to watch with his competitive flair. Holmberg ironically has yet to actually win this Swedish leg of the Tour and 2010 may well be the year for this match racing hero to reap his reward.

Other international names racing on home waters this week will be Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team a former Olympian who won the 2008 edition of Sweden, Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Global Team who was the first Swedish winner of this event and Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team who has shown his sporting expertise winning the Argo Group Gold Cup on the warmer waters of Bermuda.

A fresh and rested Tour card holder, Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN, is back in the media’s gaze after completing his first WMRT event of the season in April. With 16 helms to consider running in 2 groups tomorrow morning there may be some surprise results. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing is now the youngest skipper to take the helm at 23 and Reuben Corbett (NZL) Black Sheep Racing who started developing his skills through team racing is considered a hot ticket.

Stena Match Cup Sweden is also running a women’s event in tandem with the men’s Tour racing and has invited 10 of the most motivated female team’s from across the globe. The women’s event started today and Silke Hahlbrock (GER) leads the pack against Katie Pellew neé Spithill (AUS), Lucy Macgregor (GBR) and Linda Rahm (SWE). Women’s match racing continues to climb in mass sporting appeal as it is now a ladies Olympic discipline inspiring full time campaigns.

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Stena Match Cup Sweden hosts the world’s 10 top match racers

Posted on 05 July 2010 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: World Match Racing Tour] Stena Match Cup Sweden, Stage 5 of the ISAF World Match Racing Tour, has attracted an abundance of the World’s leading men’s and women’s match racers. They are all magnetized year after year to the racing hot spot of Marstrand for guaranteed packed out days of pure match racing perfection.

Since 2000 when the ISAF World Match Racing Tour founded, the Swedish leg of the series has had a distinguished role of honour including esteemed America’s Cup names; Dean Barker, Russell Coutts, Chris Law, Peter Gilmour, Mattias Rahm and Björn Hansen.

Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing won Stena Match Cup Sweden last year and has now notched up and incredible 7 overall victories at this event since its inaugural year in 1994. Gilmour is poised for the podium again after having also won Stage 4 of this year’s Tour only 8 days ago and looks committed to continue his fierce fighting style into this week’s semis and finals.

Ben Ainslie and Team Origin practicing before their first participation this year in the World Match Racing Tour. Masrtrand, 5 July 2010. Photo copyright Loris von Siebenthal – myimage

The Swedish national contingent as expected is also massive this year. Magnus Holmberg (SWE) Sigma Racing Team who is the very essence of Stena Match Cup Sweden having instilled the sense of excitement and profile building over the years will definitely be a skipper to watch with his competitive flair. Holmberg ironically has yet to actually win this Swedish leg of the Tour and 2010 may well be the year for this match racing hero to reap his reward.

Other international names racing on home waters this week will be Mattias Rahm (SWE) Stena Bulk Sailing Team a former Olympian who won the 2008 edition of Sweden, Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Global Team who was the first Swedish winner of this event and Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team who has shown his sporting expertise winning the Argo Group Gold Cup on the warmer waters of Bermuda.

A fresh and rested Tour card holder, Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN, is back in the media’s gaze after completing his first WMRT event of the season in April. With 16 helms to consider running in 2 groups tomorrow morning there may be some surprise results. Keith Swinton (AUS) Black Swan Racing is now the youngest skipper to take the helm at 23 and Reuben Corbett (NZL) Black Sheep Racing who started developing his skills through team racing is considered a hot ticket.

Stena Match Cup Sweden is also running a women’s event in tandem with the men’s Tour racing and has invited 10 of the most motivated female team’s from across the globe. The women’s event started today and Silke Hahlbrock (GER) leads the pack against Katie Pellew neé Spithill (AUS), Lucy Macgregor (GBR) and Linda Rahm (SWE). Women’s match racing continues to climb in mass sporting appeal as it is now a ladies Olympic discipline inspiring full time campaigns.

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Chaos on the start line compromises Team Origin

Posted on 23 May 2010 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Team Origin] A tough break for TEAMORIGIN today when an over-enthusiastic spectator fleet crowded the start area and blocked the view of a tiny lobster pot buoy which caught around their keel. Sailing team member Craig Satterthwaite swam to clear the foul-up but the incident allowed Artemis to get away and take the race win.

TEAMORIGIN were up against the Swedish Artemis team today. The start warning signal was fired at 1500, the breeze was 5-7 knots, north easterly direction. Pre-start Artemis was aggressive and pursued the British boat away from the start line but TEAMORIGIN held their ground and both boats turned back to the start line. With one and a half minutes to go, the over-enthusiastic spectator fleet crowded the start box area and blocked the view of a small lobster pot buoy which TEAMORIGIN promptly caught around their keel. By the time Craig Satterthwaite went over the side to clear the tangle with a sharp knife the unfortunate incident had given Artemis the opportunity to clear out and lead off the start line.

TEAMORIGIN pushed hard up the beat to get back into this race and trailed the first windward mark by 17 seconds. The Brits did an immediate gybe set and were hot on the heels of their competitors to try and close the gap. Artemis managed to keep their air clear and rounded the left hand bottom gate still with a lead and in control of the race.

At the second top mark Artemis lead by 47 seconds, TEAMORIGIN did a really nice rounding and gave it a final push but it was not to be. A really frustrating race for Ben Ainslie and his crew as the pre-start issue really decided the fate of this race. Artemis took the race win by 45 seconds.

Quotes of the day:

Ben Ainslie, Skipper & Helmsman, “A real anti-climax today, it was a really busy start area with lots of spectator boats around, large and small and it was pretty hard to manoeuvre around them. We managed to avoid one of them and moving away from another we unfortunately caught a lobster pot. Craig Satterthwaite had to jump over the side with a knife to cut it clear and by the time we got it sorted, Artemis had a good lead.”

“The guys did a great job in keeping the race close and did a very nice manoeuvre around the second windward mark but the race result was decided by the unfortunate incident before the start.”

Craig Satterthwaite, Pit, who jumped over the side with a knife to clear the tangle: “The water is pretty cold! We had to wait until the boat slowed down so I could jump over the side, it was very clear so pretty easy to spot and cut free and the guys put a rope by the side so I could pull myself back in, not what we needed but at least we got it sorted quickly and calmly.”

David Carr, Runners/ Pit Assist, added: “What a nightmare, there were so many spectator boats and sirens going to try to get them to clear the area, we could cope with that as its part of the game but made it impossible to see a tiny white lobster pot marker buoy. The positive thing to take out of it was how quickly we got it sorted and how calm everyone remained afterwards and got straight back down to business – but for sure it was a tough break for us.”

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Video: Ben Ainslie talks about Team Origin’s entry in the AUDI Medup

Posted on 11 May 2010 by Valencia Sailing

Ben Ainslie talks about Team Origin’s entry in the AUDI Medup. Cascais, 11 May 2010. Video copyright AUDI Medcup

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