Portsmouth – It really was Super Sunday for Ben Ainslie and Land Rover BAR whose second place in the last of Sunday’s three races gave them the overall regatta win at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth event.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on hand to present the awards and it was a fitting end to an amazing weekend of action for the British fans in Portsmouth.
“I think it’s been a brilliant weekend,” said Sir Ben Ainslie, the skipper of Land Rover BAR.
“For us to race in Portsmouth, in front of our home crowd with the weather playing its part and two cracking days of racing, as a home team to win in front of our home crowd is the best thing we could do.”
The winds on Sunday presented the teams with perfect conditions for the AC45F boats to foil, wowing the tens of thousands of people along the Portsmouth shoreline who had come out to cheer on their favourite teams. The loudest cheers were for Land Rover BAR and it was the British team who took the early lead in race one.
Oracle Team USA led the chasing pack but the crew on board Land Rover BAR had their feet on the gas and kept building an ever bigger lead, using home water knowledge and the cheers of the crowd to help power them to victory in race one, an ominous sign for the rest of the America’s Cup fleet. Behind them, Oracle Team USA were second, Emirates Team New Zealand third, Softbank Team Japan fourth, Artemis Racing fifth and Groupama Team France sixth.
At the start of race two it was Oracle Team USA who seized the early advantage, leading Softbank Team Japan and Land Rover BAR at the first mark. Jimmy Spithill’s US crew were right on top of their game and increased their lead throughout the race, but behind them Emirates Team New Zealand, Land Rover BAR and Softbank Team Japan were engaged in an almighty scrap for second with Artemis Racing and Groupama Team France in fifth and sixth respectively. It was Land Rover BAR in second, Softbank Team Japan in third, Emirates Team New Zealand in fourth, Sweden’s Artemis Racing in fifth and Groupama Team France again in sixth.
Victory for Oracle Team USA set up the final race as a nail-biting conclusion to the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth as Land Rover BAR only needed to finish ahead of Oracle Team USA to win the overall regatta honours, and to take top spot in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series standings.
The clock ticked down to the crucial start of race three and it was Oracle Team USA who took the lead off the starting line, just ahead of the British team and the Kiwis on board Emirates Team New Zealand who were watching their series lead disappear ahead of them. The tension was palpable as the British and US teams made their way back down the course, but just after the midway point of the race Oracle Team USA started to edge further away, leaving Ben Ainslie and Land Rover BAR to defend their second place from Emirates Team New Zealand. That second place was all the British team needed to secure overall victory in the regatta and it was never really in doubt, finally winning the regatta by a single point from Oracle Team USA 82 to 81.
Behind the US and Brits was Softbank Team Japan in third, Emirates Team New Zealand in fourth, Groupama Team France in fifth and Artemis Racing sixth.
The win also put the British team into first place on the overall Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series leaderboard, overtaking Emirates Team New Zealand who drop to third with Oracle Team USA in second, Softbank Team Japan in fourth, Artemis Racing fifth and Groupama Team France in sixth.
Full results are here – https://www.americascup.com/en/results.html