A broken wingsail during the first race against Emirates Team New Zealand forced Sir Ben Ainslie and Land Rover BAR to pull out of both races against the Kiwis, but with two more against Emirates scheduled for tonight and tomorrow, the Brits could still #BringTheCupHome
A broken wingsail gave Sir Ben Ainslie no choice but to pull out of both America’s Cup races with Emirates Team New Zealand yesterday, Monday 5 June, but with two more races against the Kiwis taking place today in Bermuda, and two tomorrow, Land Rover BAR are feeling confident. The team posted this tweet on their Twitter account:
Land Rover BAR will have to bag five points in total to progress through to the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs Final.
However Sir Ben Ainslie seems confident that there could be a turn around. After the damaged wing yesterday he said:
“It’s a really tough situation for the team. Rounding the first leeward gate, we had a breakage in our wing control system, which meant we had to retire from the race. It is an extremely bitter pill for the whole team to swallow given that this is the first two races of the playoffs against ETNZ, but it’s something we can deal with and we have the team to turn it around and come back fighting tomorrow.”
Fans have been posting messages on social media to cheer the British team ahead of tonight, in what will be two nail-biting races.
Light winds and technical failure combined to give Sir Ben Ainslie little choice but to pull Land Rover BAR out of their first race of Day 6 qualifiers against Emirates Team New Zealand in the 35th America’s Cup.
The ‘borderline foiling conditions’ left Sir Ben fighting to regain seed after the daggerboard malfunctioned.
“We knew we had a big race ahead with Groupama Team France, so we pulled out against Emirates Team New Zealand as we wanted to give our engineers and technicians a chance to get in and fix the issues; which they did as always and got us through that final race,” the five-time Olympic medallist said afterwards.
“We had a nice start against Emirates Team New Zealand but they were coming over us with pace. We had to gybe away and we had a system failure which meant that we couldn’t control our daggerboard properly; the new daggerboard coming onto the port gybe. We stuffed the bows in and wiped out all the speed and in those light winds when you do that it’s so painful trying to re-build the speed and get going again.
“In all fairness to Team New Zealand they were going really well in those conditions. I think they would have probably found a way past us anyway, but it would have been nice if we could have made life a little bit harder for them.”
Their decision was the right one though as Sir Ben Ainslie and his crew went on to win their second race of the day against Groupama Team France – but only by a small margin.
Both teams were again held back by the light winds, however, the Brits were victorious and Land Rover BAR are now through to the playoff round with five points in total.
“It was so close against France. Super light, on and off the foils and plenty of overtakes,” said Land Rover BAR Tactician and Grinder Giles Scott.
“My role is to take an overlook of the race course and find more wind. It’s great to come through races like that and it was a great race. Certainly one we didn’t want to lose.”
Yachting World Editor Elaine Bunting added: “Winds were so light these were borderline foiling conditions, and neither the French nor British teams could manage this consistently.
“In their first races against SoftBank Team Japan and Emirates Team New Zealand respectively, the French and British teams were often unable to carry out foiling gybes and sank into displacement mode, thus opening up huge gaps.
“Big differences in the foils were obvious to even the most inexpert eyes. Emirates Team New Zealand’s foils were much longer than Land Rover BARs, the tips perhaps 2.5 to 3m in length and shaped with an elbow. ‘Pirelli slicks’, the Kiwi team called them.
“Despite the light breeze, Peter Burling hurled his boat through gybes on foils, and the teamwork on board looked poised as ever. But the race also made for strange viewing, both boats sailing low angles in an effort to get up on foils and on occasions going in virtually opposite directions – very disorientating for us conventional sailors.”
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Ranking in third place after Defenders ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand, everything is still up for grabs for Sir Ben Ainslie and his team.
The Brits won’t be racing today, Friday 2 June, but on Saturday 3 June, they have two matches: the first against SoftBank Team Japan and the second will see them racing against Jimmy Spithill’s Defenders, ORACLE TEAM USA.
“Clearly our performance wasn’t good enough in those conditions,” said Sir Ben Ainslie, “But tomorrow we aren’t scheduled to race so we’ll be working on our speed in those lighter conditions, the setup of the boat, the wing, the rudders and a lot you can play with to increase the performance.”
Will Land Rover BAR be successful in their quest to #BringTheCupHome? Only time (and races) will tell.