The IRC National Championship will be the last occasion to see Ben Ainslie in action in the UK, prior to competing at the 2008 Olympic Games in China, where he will attempt to win an unprecedented third Gold Medal in a row for Britain. Ben Ainslie will be sailing on Rob Lutener & Martin Elwood’s TP52, Henri Lloyd Cutting Edge in the big boat division.
This year’s IRC National Championship organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club has a record entry of 87 yachts. The quality of yachts and crews is outstanding with top amateur sailors rubbing shoulders with the elite of the sport from the Olympics, America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race.
'I am looking forward to sailing with the Henri Lloyd Cutting Edge crew. I will probably get behind the wheel at some stage, but I am really there to help the team and may be give them some pointers to improve the overall performance.' Commented Ben Ainslie.
'I have just got back from training in China where I have been spending many hours alone, practicing in the Finn for the Olympics. It will be great to compete in the RORC IRC Nationals with some company on board, geting involved with the team and with so many top calibre boats out on the water, we should get some really exciting racing right through the fleet.
On a personal note, tide is a big issue in this year’s Olympics as is racing in the Solent, so that will be good practice for me. Racing in the Solent is always an interesting challenge; predicting the wind shifts and working the tide is as important as good crew work.'
The IRC National Championship organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club starts on Friday 13th June with eight races scheduled over three days of competition. After racing has been concluded, a prize giving ceremony will be held in Cowes on the 15 June. Besides Class prizes, the overall National IRC Champion will be announced.