Last week saw Ben Ainslie lead his team on to the waters of the America’s Cup race course in Bermuda. The squad was training with two foiling catamarans – the small, light, Nacra 20s – on the Great Sound.
Ainslie says the training session is important for two reasons – learning about conditions on the race course area of the America’s Cup; and upskilling the sailing team on foiling catamarans.
“Sailing the Nacra 20s here enables us to get some time on the water and get some more feedback to our designers on the conditions out here. It’s a different time of year from when the America’s Cup will be held, but it helps us understand things like wave state and the wind conditions over the island,” Ainslie said.
“It also allows us to up our skill level in the foiling 20 footers. These boats are great because it enables not just the helmsman and trimmer types to get foiling but also the bigger guys who don’t always have this opportunity to get their skill levels up as well.”
Ainslie has raced on the Great Sound before, but it’s been nearly 20 years, during a youth world championship event. He says racing on the tight confines of the race course area will be a challenge for all of the teams.
“I think it’s going to be a great challenge for all of us because the wind conditions are variable and the tight course means a lot of manoeuvring which should open up the racing,” he said.
“We’re here this week, then we’re back home and testing on the AC45 – which is going to be quite chilly – and that’s a continuing development process. We open our team base in June, which is a big milestone for us, and then we’re looking forward to the America’s Cup World Series starting in Cagliari in June and of course in Portsmouth in July.”