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Barton Thought of the Day: Christian Brewer reflects on the America's Cup

by Christian Brewer 5 Feb 04:00 PST
INEOS TEAM UK's Britannia racing in the PRADA Cup © Richard Gladwell /

The Optimist and the AC75, now what do these extremes of our sport have to do with each other you may ask? Well, Sir Ben Ainslie, tactician Giles Scott and grinder Richard Mason all started out in these diminutive One Design dinghies, 'great oaks from little acorns grow'!

I have been following Richard Mason's meteoric rise in sailing from his early days sailing off Lymington in his Optimist to joining Skandia Team GBR in the 470 and 49er classes then moving into racing One Design Figaro single handed yachts with the Artemis Offshore Academy. Following his successful campaign with Sir Ben, winng the SailGP event in Sydney last year, Richard was selected to join the INEOS Team UK challenger for the 36th America's Cup in New Zealand. Mission: To Bring the Cup home.

Some history... It has been 170 years since the New York Yacht Club first won the America's Cup onboard the Schooner 'America', a cup on which they have held a tight grip until Alan Bond's 'Australia 11' wrestled it away in 1983.

The boat designs have evolved from the classic lines of the pre-war J Class yachts, through to the 12m class, the IAAC class, the extreme AC72 and AC50 foiling catamarans and now the ultimate expression of the class rule, the AC75 class, full on foiling 75ft monohulls weighing in at 6.5 tonnes, loaded with high tech systems and being inherently unstable. Something we came to witness with the demise of the US entrant 'Patriot' in the PRADA Cup. The US team bravely regrouped and with the help of the other competing teams managed to get her up and running again after ten days of intensive rebuilding, only to finally lose to the Italian contender Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team.

Now we look forward to the PRADA Cup final. Comprising of up to 13 races scheduled from February 13th - 22nd, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli versus INEOS TEAM UK, the showdown is set. Much has been said about the zero to hero performance of the British team. Were they 'sandbagging' before Christmas? The Britannia team with Sir Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott in the afterguard go into this final round unbeaten in the preliminaries, but have the Italians really found an extra 10% of boat speed as they claim? Game on. We are all watching at Barton.

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