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America's Cup: INEOS Britannia begin sailing operations in Barcelona

by INEOS Britannia Media 25 Jul 2023 00:18 PDT 25 July 2023
INEOS Britannia Team - Day 1 - AC40 - July 24, 2023 © Cameron Gregory

The British America's Cup Challenger, and Challenger of Record, INEOS Britannia has wrapped up its sailing operations in Palma and has moved to Barcelona.

The team's Barcelona base is already fully operational and, with equipment and people arriving daily over the past few weeks, the buzz and excitement has been building towards this moment; as the team took to the water at the venue for the 37th America's Cup.

The inaugural sailing day in Barcelona saw the team sail their one-design AC40 Class race boat 'Athena' with the focus on racing preparation for the up-and-coming Preliminary Regattas.

The countdown is now on to the start of racing, with the first event hosted by Vilanova i La Geltrú between 14-17th September 2023 which is just a few miles down the coast from Barcelona, followed by Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 29th November - 2nd December. Both these events will be raced in the smaller one design AC40 Class; meaning that any time spent training is crucial to sharpen the crew playbook.

Next to head out onto the waters of Barcelona will be the team's test and development boat 'T6'. This will commence the crucial, final block of testing ahead of the remaining design decisions for the AC75 Class race boat that will contest the America's Cup in 2024.

INEOS Britannia have already completed nine months of testing in "T6", the team's sixth test boat, built as an "LEQ12" (short for "Length Equivalent 12m") under the technical regulations for the 37th America's Cup.

T6 is a pure test platform, designed and built solely to conduct validation experiments for the physics models that the team use to simulate and predict sailboat performance. The accuracy of those physics models and the simulations will be the foundations for a fast AC75 design; the team's race boat that will be launched ahead of the competition in 2024.

Towards the end of the Palma test programme the operations team stepped up to put two boats on the water with T6 sailing alongside 'Athena', and it proved to be very productive. This is something the team expect to repeat in Barcelona, where the different conditions (Barcelona is expected to have a rougher sea state than Palma) will also give another dimension to the testing.

The T6 test boat has been vital in bringing together the two organisations that INEOS Britannia represents; the sailing team that came out of back-to-back America's Cups in 2017 and 2021, and the Mercedes F1 group.

"Every day on the water counts in the America's Cup," commented Ben Ainslie, CEO and Team Principal for INEOS Britannia, "huge credit goes to the shore and support team for their hard work to get us operational and back on the water so quickly. We also want to thank the Barcelona Port Authority and Marina Port Vell for all their help in getting us set up in their beautiful city.

"We're the first British team to challenge for three, back-to-back Cups since Sir Thomas Lipton. We have the continued support of Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his team at INEOS to thank for that, and we're incredibly grateful for the opportunity they have given us.

"The racing period is only just around the corner and although the prelims are in one design boats it's still a line in the sand for the sailing crews as we look to perform against our fellow competitors.

"Our base is located right in the centre of the AC event set-up, and we can already feel a real buzz of excitement in the city, everything is set for a very special edition of the America's Cup"

About INEOS Britannia

Backed by INEOS Founder and Chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe and led by the most successful Olympic sailor of all time and America's Cup winner, Sir Ben Ainslie, INEOS Britannia is the Challenger of Record for the 37th America's Cup. The British team, who will race for Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd, was formed in 2014 before joining forces with INEOS in 2018.

In challenging for a third successive America's Cup, INEOS Britannia has much needed continuity, the cornerstone of every successful America's Cup team. It will be the first time a British team has competed in three consecutive Cup cycles since Sir Thomas Lipton and the Royal Ulster YC bids between 1899 to 1930.

The America's Cup, the pinnacle of yachting, was first contested in 1851 in Cowes, Isle of Wight and organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron, predating the modern Olympic Games by 45 years. The last British Challenger of Record to compete in an America's Cup was the 12 metre, Sovereign in 1964.

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