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Momentous day for INEOS Britannia as AC75 sets sail for first time

by INEOS Britannia 1 May 12:58 PDT 1 May 2024
INEOS Britannia's AC75 sets sail for first time © Cameron Gregory

INEOS Britannia's new race boat for the 37th America's Cup has set sail for the very first time. The British Challenger's AC75 took to the water in Barcelona with Olympic Gold medallists Sir Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott at the Helm on Wednesday 1st May.

INEOS Britannia, the British Challenger of Record representing Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd for the 37th America's Cup, has been working towards this moment for over two-and-a-half years with team members in the UK and Spain working on the design, construction and development of the race boat, known as RB3.

After RB3's arrival in Barcelona on 6 April, the INEOS Britannia systems and shore team had been working tirelessly to install and check final elements to ensure she was ready to hit the water. A tow test was performed on the water on Friday 26th April to check controls, systems and sensors before the crew set sail today.

Speaking after stepping ashore from the first sail, INEOS Britannia Team Principal and Skipper Sir Ben Ainslie said: "This is a momentous day for the entire team. Everyone has worked incredibly hard to get us to this point and I want to thank all involved for their effort and commitment.

"After years of design and development, it felt amazing to be out on the Barcelona waters in RB3. We've spent a lot of time in our simulator recently, so it was great to be out there for real and putting all of our learnings into practice."

While it was the first time sailing the new AC75 for all of the team, for some members it was the first time they had ever been on a foiling race boat. INEOS Britannia's AC75 has estimated top speeds of 50kts and is powered by four cycling sailors, "Cyclors", who have been training on road bikes for much of the last two years. Four out of eight INEOS Britannia Cyclors come from the world of Olympic rowing and are new recruits to the America's Cup.

INEOS Britannia Cyclor Neil Hunter said: "After a lot of time cycling in the gym and on the roads, it was a big milestone to be out on the boat. While our training has been cycling-focused, some of the new rowing recruits took part in sailing courses to get used to being on the water. Although the AC75 will be the first time on a foiling boat for the rowers in the team, we have the likes of Matt Gotrel, Freddie Carr, myself and Ben Cornish in the Cyclor squad who have spent a lot of time on these boats."

The Cyclor programme has been a collaboration between three INEOS Sport teams, INEOS Britannia, INEOS Grenadiers and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team. The eight-strong Cyclor squad has been training with top cyclists from the INEOS Grenadiers, while designers and engineers from the F1 team have helped develop the Cyclor system for the AC75.

The 37th America's Cup will be the second time the AC75 class race boat will be raced in the Cup, after it was introduced to the competition in Auckland in 2021. There have been rule changes, notably and most obviously reducing the number of the crew on-board from 11 to 8. The full INEOS Britannia crew consists of: Sir Ben Ainslie, David 'Freddie' Carr, Ben Cornish, Dylan Fletcher, Matt Gotrel, Neil Hunter, Iain Jensen, Harry Leask, Leigh McMillan, Bleddyn Mon, Luke Parkinson, Matt Rossiter, Giles Scott, James Skulczuk and Ryan Todhunter.

With under 115 days until racing begins, the Team will now focus on testing RB3 ahead of the Barcelona Preliminary Regatta on 22-25 August, where all six teams will race their AC75s against each other for the first time. The five challenging teams will then battle it out in The Louis Vuitton Cup (Challenger Selections Series 29 Aug - 7 Oct) to win the right to take on Defender Emirates Team New Zealand in the Louis Vuitton 37th America's Cup match (12-27 October).

On Saturday May 18th, INEOS Britannia will officially christen RB3 at her naming event in Barcelona, fans can sign up to watch the event live here.

RB3 stats:

  • Crew: 8 (2 co-helm, 2 trimmers and 4 cyclors)
  • Individual parts: 120,000+
  • Sensors & channels: 700+
  • Onboard Cameras: 33 linked back to shore
  • Data channels: 30,000+
  • Estimated top speed: 50kts +
  • Length: 20.7m
  • Max Beam: 5m
  • Weight: 6,200 Kgs

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