“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.”
Sunday’s winds gave the teams the fuel they needed to foil the AC45F boats and showcase exactly what the America’s Cup is all about; the speed and grace of a historic gentleman’s sport, watched by tens of thousands on the ground.
British team Land Rover BAR took an early lead in race one, with ORACLE TEAM USA chasing close behind. With the other teams fighting forward, home water knowledge and the crowd’s furious cheers carried the British team to victory at the close of race one.
Those shoreside for race two saw ORACLE TEAM USA seize an early advantage, leading Softbank Team Japan and Land Rover BAR at the first mark. Jimmy Spithill’s US crew lead the pack left Emirates Team New Zealand, Land Rover BAR and Softbank Team Japan to fight for second while Team Artemis and Groupama Team France stayed in fifth and sixth respectively.
Race two closed with 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.
The third leg would be no easy call between the American’s and the British, as Land Rover BAR only required victory over day two winners ORACLE TEAM USA to seal a win.
“In the last race today we were very aware of the fact we only had to finish within one place of ORACLE TEAM USA to win the regatta, so that was what we were focused on,” explains Ben Ainslie of Land Rover BAR.
ORACLE TEAM USA took the lead off the starting line, just ahead of Land Rover BAR with Emirates Team New Zealand close behind. As the race progressed, the gap began to widen between the Americans and Land Rover BAR as the British defending second place from Emirates Team New Zealand.
Second place was all Land Rover BAR needed to cement victory overall at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth event, beating ORACLE TEAM USA by only one point.
“On Saturday BAR had a fifth and we had a sixth and that's the one point that would have made the difference, but it was still great racing,” explains Jimmy Spithill, Skipper of ORACLE TEAM USA. “The guys did a good job of fighting all the way through to the end. In the last two races today, we hit Ben every time we could, but we just couldn't push him back far enough to let a third boat through. Despite that, the guys should hold their heads up. We sailed very, very well today but we have to take our hats off to Ben and congratulate his team.”
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.