America’s Cup World Series – Ben Ainslie plays catch up
by Ben Ainslie on 22 Aug 2012
America’s Cup World Series 2012-13 is being held in San Francisco from August 21st until August 26th 2012. Today was the last day of practice.
J.P.Morgan BAR in San Francisco - America’s Cup World Series 2012-13 © Jon Nash / J.P.Morgan BAR
Whichever way you look at it we are playing catch up, but there’s no surprise in that. There are some hugely experienced people in this class who have been sailing these wing masted cats in all kinds of conditions so we will have our work cut out to get up to speed. They’re technical, powerful boats and in the classic, breezy San Francisco conditions they can bite you pretty quickly so there’s plenty to learn.
I was very pleased with our performance today in the practice races and I think the fact that we did some overtaking on the short courses gives me confidence that we are off to the right start.
I think the team work side of things is going really well. Of course it will take a while to get to grips with some of the manoeuvres, but with a strong group around me it’s a lot easier to scale what is a steep learning curve. Our coaches Darren Bundock and Philippe Presti have been excellent as well and mean that we’ve got plenty of support at a critical time in our new programme.
By late afternoon the conditions had become quite punchy but I think we handled them well. There were two capsizes today, one of them being Dean Barker’s Team New Zealand which just goes to show how easy it is even for the most experienced teams to trip up. I’m sure we will at some stage, but we kept dry today.
Unfortunately we did sustain some damage to our wing in a gybe when a couple of the ribs in the lower section broke which then caused some problems further up the rig and we couldn’t start the practice fleet race. The bigger problem is that we will be using a spare rig for the next couple of days while the BAR one is repaired which is a bit frustrating as we won’t have our smart new branding back until Friday.
I guess it’s part and parcel of racing these boats because they’re delicate in conditions like this, so I guess we have to live with that.
On a slightly different note, there still seems to be some confusion as to whether I am planning to take part in the next Games in 2016.
Of course I’d love to be in Rio, but there are so many other challenges and factors that need to fall into place before I can make that decision. So at this stage nothing has changed, I’m not ruling anything in, or anything out.
JP Morgan BAR team website