Ineos Team UK christen second boat Britannia

Ineos Team UK has named the boat it’ll race in the America’s Cup Britannia.

Helmed by Sir Ben Ainslie with fellow Olympic Gold medallist Giles Scott as tactician, the boat christening is the culmination of 46,000 construction hours and >90,000 design hours.

The America’s Cup is said to be the world’s oldest international sporting trophy, predating the modern Olympic Games by 45 years and being older than both the FA Cup and the Ryder Cup. The first America’s Cup even took place 35 years before the car and 52 years before the inaugural flight of the Wright Brothers.

Ainslie called the christening a landmark.

“This is a big step forward for us as a team and we can’t wait to get out on the water in the Auckland Harbour,” he says. “The coming months will be an intense time, as we will need to make every second out on the water in this new boat count to get the full potential out of her by the time we start racing in the America’s Cup World Series this December and beyond, but we are all looking forward to taking on this challenge of a lifetime.”

The team is backed by Ineos founder and chairman, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who sent a message of support to Ben Ainslie and the team during the official naming ceremony:

Ben Ainslie with Her Excellency Ms Laura Clarke, British High Commissioner for New Zealand in front of Britannia.
Image courtesy of Harry KH / INEOS TEAM UK

“The America’s Cup is a magnificent competition with an extraordinary history and now I believe that for one of the first times in British history we are going to arrive at the start line with a truly competitive boat.

“As the song goes, ‘Britannia rules the waves’, and we are all extremely hopeful that the team will finish by ruling the waves in Auckland and bringing the cup back home for the first time in its history.”

With estimated top speeds of over 50 knots (93 km/h, 57.5 mph), the team says Britannia is a significant evolution from the first AC75 with noticeable changes to hull shape, deck layout and more.

“The biggest change from RB1 is simply that the fundamental capabilities of our design group have evolved immeasurably over the past two years,” says Ineos chief designer, Nick Holroyd. “This boat is on time, perfectly on weight and the detail of the fit out and systems is immaculate. That is a real credit to each team member involved.

“Since developing the first boat, the race area and the condition limits have been clarified, and we have had time to sail and test the dynamics and loads. That has made the focus of the design team much clearer and enabled us to design and engineer finer tolerances. On top of that, having a crew that has now sailed an AC75 in RB1 makes us much more dialled in with the end users, the sailors, and enables us to be more specific to their set of requirements.

“This is an incredibly exciting class of boat at the bleeding edge of our design field, we feel incredibly lucky to be involved in these types of projects.”

The team will sail Britannia in the Auckland Harbour for the coming months prior to the start of the series.

Image courtesy of Harry KH / INEOS TEAM UK

Image courtesy of Sam Penhaul / INEOS TEAM UK

Image courtesy of American Magic

Meanwhile, team American Magic has described sailing newly christened Patriot as ‘lively’.

“We went off the dock thinking that if the breeze filled in, we’d have a good sail,” says Terry Hutchinson, skipper and executive director of American Magic. “Straight away, we came into 21 knots [of pressure], and we were into it. This really demonstrates the confidence that the sailors have in everyone on the team.”

After 92 days of on-the-water development in the AM38 test boat and 66 days on the team’s first AC75, Defiant, American Magic began logging hours on a yacht that is the embodiment of three years of hard-earned data and lessons.

The AC75’s first gybe, attempted with a windspeed of around 20 knots, turned out to be a memorable one. “We had a great nosedive, and that was exciting,” says Hutchinson. “It was nothing that we haven’t seen or done on our other boats, and our familiarity with Patriot will increase rapidly over the coming days.”

Image courtesy of American Magic

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