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Ainslie admits daggerboard design failure

Sir Ben Ainslie has admitted that he knew things were wrong long before the team relocated to Bermuda last November.

In a number of articles and interviews Ainslie has revealed the problems they had faced.

Ainslie: “We knew we had issues looking back as far as last summer, testing in the UK, because we had a lot of structural failures in our daggerboards and our rudders.”

“That had a knock-on effect of taking away critical testing time on our daggerboard design and rudder design. So already back then we were in trouble and that came through to coming out to Bermuda."

In the article Ainslie says that it was no suprise to find that the other teams were so far in front and that they knew they were on the back foot.

After they launched the race boat in Bermuda in February, the design proved to be too conservative and the daggerboard design wasn’t aggressive enough, making continuous foiling difficult.

This had been highlighted by the sailing media as the lack of pace became apparent in the Bermuda practice sessions.

And once the Qualification series began Land Rover BAR suffered a number of embarassing losses, despite Ainslie's skill in winning the starts.

Their high placing in the qualification leaderboard the result of having two points from the earlier LVACWS, which was raced in one design boats.

It was not until the Semi-final series that the problem became critical, with Emirates Team New Zealand showing an ability to catch and overtake BAR even when they had trailed at the start.

Land Rover BAR only winning one race (of seven) on the water as they exited the event.

Ainslie now claims that they probably rushed a lot of their key decisions because they were already behind and needed to go faster to catch up.

This known (within the team) design failure, probably accounts for the poor media output from Land Rover BAR, with its emphasis on technical background items and later descent into jokey videos.

"I’m disappointed as a sportsman; I hate losing,” Ainslie said. “But I am super proud of the team how they reacted to the number of setbacks we had. The difference with being an individual sportsman and being in a team is that you do it together."

Ainslie will remain in Bermuda as part of a core team watching the remaining races as well as supporting BAR’s academy in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.

The 36th America's Cup could take place in 2019 - depending who wins this one - and Ainslie is determined that they can improve if they get the stategy right the next time.

There was a lot of good-will behind Ainslie following his Olympic success, a more realistic, hard headed approach will be expected if there is a re-run.

Two key sponsors, Land Rover and Eleventh Hour Racing, have already committed to backing the next campaign, along with the team’s shareholders and investors.

Ainslie, "We are looking at areas where we can improve. The work starts today on the future. We have got to get the strategy right, we have got to get the recruitment right. We will make changes to team; we’ve got to develop."

Royal Gazette article here

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