Ben Ainslie: "A multihull with a wingmast clearly gives Oracle a massive design advantage"
Ben Ainslie, the triple Olympic medalist skippering Britain's America's Cup team Team Origin, frequently publishes very interesting posts in his personal blog. In the latest article, published today, Ainslie talks extensively about his latest Finn regatta at Skandia Sail for Gold but also makes interesting comments on Team Origin, in particular regarding the America's Cup, the TP52 campaign and the World Match Racing Tour.
As far as the America's Cup is concerned, Ainslie comments on the type of boat that will be chosen by BMW Oracle, suggesting that a multihull with a wingmast will "clearly" give the Defender a "massive design advantage" over the other teams. We'll have to wait until next Monday for the official announcement by Russell Coutts.
"There is still a lot of TEAMORIGIN racing to be done and America's Cup discussions to be had. As it stands the suggestion is that BMW Oracle are still very keen to proceed with a multihull for the next Cup and we have concerns with that, as not only is there a question mark over how good multihulls are for match racing but also going with a multihull with a wingmast clearly gives Oracle a massive design advantage over the rest of us.
The channels of communication are still open with BMW Oracle and we had some dialogue during the 1851 Cup at Cowes Week, which was a great event and saw some fantastic racing between the two teams. There will be an announcement on the 13th of September as to the class of boat, date and rules for the next event. This announcement is eagerly awaited by all involved. Russell Coutts and BMW Oracle have talked at length about improving the sport and taking the America's Cup into an exciting future, let's hope these changes are good for the sport on and off the water.
The TP52 regatta in Cartagena last month was acceptable for the Birtish team that, despite the disastrous gear failure in the coastal race, finished third and are still in the hunt for a podium spot in the circuit.
The other racing for TEAMORIGIN is the TP52 Audi Med Cup and the World Match Racing Tour. We have just completed two back to back regattas with the TP52 in Cartagena, Spain and the World Match Racing Tour in St Moritz, Switzerland.
Cartagena was a better event for us in the TP, we have struggled all season to find our grove in learning the boat and the fleet. We had a very disappointing coastal race where our forestay ram broke down and resigned us to last place in this high scoring race. We came back okay on the final day to finish third overall and be in the hunt for a top three finish for the season's standings. Team New Zealand continues to be the stand out boat in this class, sailing with good boat speed in most conditions and smart tactics.
Finally, Ainslie is disappointed with his performance in last week's St. Moritz Match Race. He's aiming at winning this year's ISAF World Match Racing Championship but he's only competing in half of the Tour's nine events, so even a third place can prove costly.
St Moritz ended in disappointment after losing the semi finals and third place sail offs. In both races we were close to the opposition, with a penalty on them, but were unable to keep the race close enough to win. It was a frustrating way to end what had been a fun week and a fourth place finish, while not being a disaster, is not going to be good enough if we want to be in contention to win the tour. We are only competing in half of the tour and so every event for us is a counter. Sailing in St Moritz is a unique experience as the lake is very small and surrounded by mountains at 1800 meters above sea level. The air is thin and the wind incredibly shifty, apart from that it's the most stunning scenery anywhere in the World.
Next up is the Danish Open Match Race. Hopefully we can turn things around from Switzerland and sail better at sea level.