Ben Ainslie links up with British billionaire for AC

The British America’s Cup team is already gearing up for the change to monohulls. Ben Ainslie’s Land Rover BAR team has joined with British billionaire Tony Langley’s 52ft team to compete in the world’s leading hi-performance monohull event, the 52 Super Series.

Ainslie will lead his team aboard Langley Holdings’ Gladiator TP52 using the series to develop their monohull racing skills which are significantly different to those required for foiling catamarans.

Langley will continue at the helm of Gladiator, a role he has had since 2012. The team tied the latest event in Mahon, scoring equal points to the 2017 Super Series champions, Azzurra, only losing out on the regatta victory on a tie-break.

Land Rover BAR has already said it will contest the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland, after reaching the challenger semifinals in Bermuda, losing to eventual Cup winner Emirates Team New Zealand.

Ainslie said competing in the 52 Super Series would be valuable for his team. “We are delighted to be working with Tony Langley, he is one of the biggest supporters of British sailing and this will give us a unique opportunity to return to the subtleties of monohull sailing at an extremely high level.

“This allows not just our sailing team, but also our design and performance teams to start developing our tools and methodology as we begin our 36th America’s Cup campaign.”

Team New Zealand has confirmed their defence will take place in 75ft monohull boats, and not the wingsailed foiling catamarans of the last two Cups. Full details of the new AC75 class are expected to be unveiled on March 31, with a concept announcement to teams and media next month. In the meantime, the Challenger teams will look to develop their monohull sailing skills, which are significantly different to those required for the foiling catamarans raced in the 35th America’s Cup.

The New York Yacht Club’s America’s Cup entry Bella Mente Quantum Racing Association will also compete in the 52 Super Series in Quantum Racing, which under Doug DeVos is a five times winner of the season championship in the class.

The 52 Super Series class was specifically excluded from the definition of a surrogate boat in the America’s Cup Protocol. The move also appears set to head off a second British challenge for the America’s Cup which was tipped to be backed by Langley, owner of Langley Holdings, an engineering and industrial group.

TP52 racing started in Europe in 2005 when it was adopted by a group of owners who were disillusioned by international measurement system racing and the type of grand prix boats which the measurement system encouraged.

These fast, light, very powerful monohulls felt more like high performance dinghies, raced in real time – first past the post wins – and yet complied to a box rule design. The box rule bound the boats to a set of key dimensions but still left the design offices and the race teams with scope to exploit their own ideas and initiatives.

Careful management of the box rule has encouraged steady evolution of the TP52 so that it has progressively become faster and more exciting to sail with fewer crew, and fewer sails thereby keeping costs down.

Comments are closed.

This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

Skip to content