Sir Ben Ainslie and his team are now second overall as they prepare for the America's Cup World Series Portsmouth next month.
Perfect full-power foiling conditions at Lake Michigan, Chicago over the weekend saw Land Rover BAR take second in the three races.
This has moved the team up to second on the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series leader board.
The first race saw a wire-to-wire win for Sir Ben Ainslie and his crew as they delivered a perfect start and were never headed.
Race two was a lot tougher, with a second row start they dropped back to sixth after the second leg, but clawed back precious points with a fourth place finish.
The team were second in the standings going into the final race, and another incredible start saw four boats going bow to bow into mark one.
Three of them then took boundary penalties as they smoked onto leg two… including Land Rover BAR.
Once again the team dug deep, and fought back to snatch second place on the line.
The result puts the team in a great position ahead of their home waters event in Portsmouth 21-24 July.
The team are even on 285 points with Oracle Team USA – but take second on the tie-break – and just ten points behind Emirates Team New Zealand.
A repeat of the 2015 home town win will set up a fantastic duel going into the final straight of the 2016 season.
Speaking after the racing, skipper and team principal, Sir Ben Ainslie, said: “What can I say, today was brilliant racing, and it’s great to showcase the sport this way, and show how good it can be,”
He praised his crew.
“The guys onboard did an incredible job, in these conditions it’s all about boat handling and the fitness required. I can’t say enough about the boys and the great job they did today,” said the 39-year-old skipper.
“The starts are harder than it looks, we’ve been practicing a lot as the starts are critical to this style of racing. We had two crackers, especially the last one which was really important,” noted Sir Ben.
“Now we’re getting to the business end of the series, it’s tight between ourselves, Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA. So we’re all really excited about the next event in Portsmouth. To perform so well in front of a home crowd last year is what it’s all about for us, so we can’t wait for the event. Last year was just incredible, hopefully we can repeat, looking forward to brilliant conditions for Portsmouth,” he said.
Wing trimmer, Paul ‘CJ’ Campbell-James, said: “It was a fantastic day of racing, Chicago really put it on today, nice breeze, nice flat water and really, really tight racing which is what the World Series is all about. “We were pretty fired up going into today, and I think we saw in that first race that we came out and delivered. We really had to fight right through, and the finish of that final race was about as exciting as sailing gets.”
He said he is now looking ahead to Portsmouth.
“It’s nice to see that the guys ahead of us overall are a little bit lower in the Chicago standings, it was a really good day and everyone is happy. The next focus is to go to Portsmouth. The Kiwis are losing guys to the Olympics, just as we have with Giles (Scott). So we can capitalise on that and make sure we deliver in our home event,” noted Campbell-Jones.
Trimmer Nick Hutton said team work made “all the difference”.
“It was all about boat handling and speed today and we like it when it’s like that. It puts the pressure on the lads to do what we do and muscle the boat around,” he said.
“We back ourselves to overtake people in these conditions. We want to instil the attitude in the team that when we need to go a bit harder, we do,” stated Hutton.
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Chicago
1. Artemis Racing 61
2. Land Rover BAR 58
3. SoftBank Team Japan 56
4. Emirates Team New Zealand 51
5. ORACLE TEAM USA 49
6. Groupama Team France 40
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Leader board after six events
1. Emirates Team New Zealand 295
2. Land Rover BAR 285
3. ORACLE TEAM USA 285
4. Artemis Racing 262
5. SoftBank Team Japan 259
6. Groupama Team France 234
This will be the first time that America’s Cup racing has not been on salt water, as the Land Rover BAR team moves to Lake Michigan, Chicago for racing on 11-12 June.
Currently, Sir Ben Ainslie’s team lies in third place on the America’s Cup World Series leader board. Only Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA are ahead of them.
Racing will be focused around the lake’s Navy Pier. Chicago’s picturesque lakefront will become the stadium, with public viewing along the shoreline of Monroe Harbour.
A combination of strong tide and unpredictable wind left a frustrated Land Rover BAR team trailing fifth in the last race in New York.
Skipper and team principal, Sir Ben Ainslie will be keen to repeat the team’s success at the first 2016 event in Oman.
“The goal for each event is we want to win, ultimately that is where we want to be. For the America’s Cup World Series there are some bonus points for the first and second place teams at the end of the series going into the America’s Cup finals in Bermuda. Ultimately for the end of the Series we want to be in the top two teams,” he said.
“We are really looking forward to racing in Chicago, there are some new challenges, for most of us it will be the first time foiling in freshwater, for me personally the first time to race in Chicago.”
“So I’m very excited about going to the city and racing in the new sailing conditions,” stated the 39-year-old skipper.
Find out how you can watch all the action below
Wing trimmer, Paul ‘CJ’ Campbell-James is looking forward to racing for the first time in Chicago.
“I’ve never raced there before, but we’ve had a good look at the race course and it looks like there’s a good chance of some nice conditions,” he said.
“The water will be really flat because we’re racing inside the breakwater and that’s perfect for high-speed foiling, it should be a great event,” concluded Campbell-Jones.
All the action – in the UK and Ireland – can be watched live on BT Sport.
Saturday’s racing begins at 19:00 on BT Sport 2; then Sunday’s racing is live on BT Sport 1 beginning at 18:30.
Both channels will run replays of the racing throughout the weekend.
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series leader board after five events:
1. Emirates Team New Zealand 244
2. ORACLE TEAM USA 236
3. Land Rover BAR 227
4. SoftBank Team Japan 203
5. Artemis Racing 201
6. Groupama Team France 194
Land Rover BAR Chicago line up:
Ben Ainslie – Skipper and Team Principal
Paul Campbell-James – Wing Trimmer
David ‘Freddie’ Carr – Runner
Nick Hutton – Trimmer
Ed Powys – Bow
Andrew McLean – Runner/ Bow
Jono Macbeth – Sailing Team Manager
Jo Lees – Boat Captain
Ian Pattison – Shore support
James Chapman – Rib driver and Shore support
Ian Boag – Shore support
Ben Williams – Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach / Safety support
Rob Wilson – Coach
Luc du Bois – Analysis
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