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INEOS Britannia back in action as America's Cup racing arrives in Jeddah

by INEOS Britannia 29 Nov 2023 19:31 GMT
INEOS Britannia during a practice session in Jeddah © Cameron Gregory

The America's Cup roars back into action this weekend with the second of the three Preliminary Regattas begins in Jeddah, on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia.

The Preliminary Regattas are the warm-up events for the 37th America's Cup, and this will be the second and last that will be raced in the one design AC40s designed and manufactured by Emirates Team New Zealand. After this -- although the teams will continue to use them for in-house training and testing -- the boat's next competitive appearance will be in the Youth and Women's America's Cups.

The third and final preliminary regatta will be raced in Barcelona in the AC75, right before the opening of the Challenger Selection Series (CSS) in Barcelona next summer. The results of the Preliminary Regattas will determine the seeding for the first round robin of the CSS.

"We're looking forward to racing the AC40 again," commented Team Principal, skipper and helms, Ben Ainslie. "We had a disappointing outing in Vilanova [the first Preliminary Regatta], and we want to put that right with a good performance in Jeddah.

"We've been really busy with work on our test and development boat 'T6' since the racing in Spain, and these events are not easy to integrate with the bigger goal of designing, building and testing the fastest possible AC75 for the Challenger Series and America's Cup in 2024 -- but we'd acknowledge that we got that balance wrong in the run-up to the first Preliminary Regatta. We hope we have done a better job this time around."

The British crew representing INEOS Britannia will once again have the golden pairing of Ben Ainslie and Sailing Team Manager Giles Scott sharing the driving and tactics (six Olympic gold medals between them, with Ainslie the most successful Olympic sailor in history with four golds and a silver). This time the trimmer's seats will be taken by Bleddyn Mon and Iain Jensen, both world champions and hugely experienced campaigners. Jensen brings another Olympic gold and silver medal to the tally.

This will be the first time that America's Cup teams have competed on the Red Sea. Jeddah's Corniche will be the home for the NEOM Race Village and Fan Zone, with the racing taking place along the shoreline. The racing will run across three days, from the 30th November to the 2nd December, starting at 10.30 UT. There are three fleet races planned for the two hours of action on each of the first two days, with the third day scheduled to have two more fleet races and then a winner-take-all Match Race between the two top teams.

The America's Cup is renowned as a match racing series between the Defender and the winner of the Challenger Selection Series. The final race in Jeddah will be a great example of two boats and crews facing off directly against each other, with potential closing speeds of up to 200 km/h, the action will be spectacular.

The races will all be streamed free-to-view online on the official America's Cup website so make sure you're tuned in on race days.

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