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America's Cup: British Challenger formally christened

by Sail-World.com/NZ 18 May 11:38 BST 18 May 2024
Britannia naming Ceremony - Barcelona - May 18, 2024 © Sail-World

INEOS Britannia have formally christened their America's Cup Challenger 'Britannia' in a short ceremony at the team's base in Barcelona.

INEOS Britannia, the British Challenger of Record racing for the Royal Yacht Squadron Ltd in the 37th America’s Cup, has christened its AC75 race boat “Britannia” at an official naming ceremony in Barcelona. The event was led by INEOS Chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe, and INEOS Britannia CEO and Skipper Sir Ben Ainslie.

Julia Ratcliffe and Romane Polli, the daughters of Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his partner Catherine Polli, who are both 16 years old, were appointed the godmothers of Britannia and christened the boat by spraying Nyetimber’s English sparkling wine on the bow, a traditional act performed on all new boats for good luck.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Julia Ratcliffe and Romane Polli daughters christen Britannia - Download the rights free image here The name Britannia was chosen by Sir Jim in homage to one of Britain’s most famous racing yachts. Built in 1893 for King Edward VII, King George V took ownership of Britannia in her later years and converted her into a J Class racing yacht where she became a formidable force on water, with her lifetime record consisting of 231 race wins and 129 further podiums.

Speaking at the launch, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of INEOS said: “The America’s Cup has a long and rich history and continually sets the new standard in design, technology and innovation in racing. So, to be back as the British challenger racing Britannia - with all the legacy the name brings - is a real honour for the team. The challenge ahead is immense and one that I know the team will face with grit and determination.”

INEOS Britannia is the first British team to compete in three consecutive America’s Cups since 1903, and the current Britannia is the third America’s Cup race boat for the British team; which was the reasoning behind her previous code name “RB3”. She follows her AC75 predecessor of the same moniker that was raced in the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland, New Zealand in 2021.

More than 200 people gathered at the INEOS Britannia base for the ceremony, including team members, their friends and families and senior representatives from INEOS, the Royal Yacht Squadron and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, whose Applied Science division helped design and develop Britannia. Alongside the Mercedes F1 Team, INEOS Britannia have been able to draw on experience from across the INEOS Sport group, including the INEOS Grenadiers cycling team, the All Blacks and now Manchester United, in support of the America’s Cup Challenge.

Sir Ben said: “It’s brilliant to have so many people here to name Britannia and celebrate all the hard work that has gone into this campaign so far. INEOS Britannia is embarking on the challenge of a lifetime to be the first British team to win the America’s Cup, and we could not have got this far without the great support from Jim, John and Andy, the INEOS Sport group, the Royal Yacht Squadron and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team. It’s wonderful to have Jim and his family here to name Britannia alongside friends and relatives of the team and we’re thankful to everyone for their support.”

Here's some images from the ceremony which took place earlier this morning, and the Sky News interview with skipper Sir Ben Ainslie.

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