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Can BAR win the Design Race this time?

Sir Ben Ainslie and the Land Rover BAR team face not one, but two challenges in the next America's Cup campaign.

Grant Simmer, Nick Holroyd (?) and Ben Ainslie - Click image for a larger image

To win the 36th America's Cup (AC36) BAR must first win the design race. And that could be much more difficult.

Not only will the AC36 see the return to a monohull yacht, it will be a full foiling monohull, without a conventional keel.

This is an area none of the teams are familiar with. Not just in designing such a boat but in sailing and handling it.

The Kiwis out-manoeuvred the other teams in Bermuda by thinking outside the box at the last Cup.

The cycling powered hydraulics and sophisticated control systems for their state-of-the-art foils, gave them a confidence that grew with every race as the others scrambled to catch up.

BAR was caught flat-footed, with pedestrian foils that no amount of world class helming, and tactics could compensate for . . . Beaten before they started.

Winning the earlier one design series was no compensation for losing the design race in the real thing.

And this is where the British challenge has ended so many times, out-designed and beaten from the starting gun.

BAR will campaign a TP52 to hone their monohull handling skills, but that is just a glorified team bonding exercise, this event will be won in the design office.

Anyone arriving in New Zealand with the slightest doubt that they have the fastest boat, are fooling themselves and will join the long list of wannabes.

Ainslie, like so many before him, has staked his reputation on winning the 'Auld Mug' for Britain.

He has a second chance, with a clean-sheet design, to turn-around 167 years of failure, but first he must pull off a design coup . . . something no British challenger has ever managed!

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Gerald New - Sailweb
6 March 2018 14:54 GMT


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