America's Cup: Britannia named to rule the waves

America's Cup: Britannia named to rule the waves

America's Cup: Britannia named to rule the waves


19/05/2024 - 10:08

The INEOS Britannia base in the heart of the Port Vell was alive with guests and media for the official naming ceremony of the boat that all British fans hope and believe will be the history-maker and win the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup for the first time in its 173-year history. Without a doubt, ‘Britannia’ presents the best chance ever of securing the ‘Auld Mug’ and the campaign has all the elements required for success after securing a place at the top table as the Challenger of Record.

The biggest enemy of any America’s Cup campaign is time, closely followed by resources and on these two critical factors, INEOS Britannia has played a blinder. Almost the perfect embodiment of the INEOS Sport Group, the Challenger of Record combines Mercedes Applied Science, the INEOS Grenadiers cycling team, the All Blacks and even Manchester United into a combined effort that seeks outright sporting and design perfection. On early showings, this is a mighty challenge for the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe was in town for the ceremony alongside his partner and their daughters who officially became the ‘godmothers’ of the boat and who sprayed the Nyetimber English sparkling wine over the bow. ‘Britannia’ glistened in the sunshine, looking meaner than ever, with its fascinating angular and muscular design. After some speeches in front of an estimated 200 friends, supporters and team members, ‘Britannia’ was launched, and it was back to business for the sailing team who docked-out at 2pm with a special guest cyclor onboard.

Sir Jim, an active sportsman himself who can regularly be seen cycling the hills behind Monaco with the INEOS Grenadier team-members took over the forward port pod and, as the boat flew upwind, was giving it his all through the first couple of tacks. Once Sir Jim was safely transferred off the boat, the session ramped up with Britannia revelling in the building afternoon breeze of 10-14 knots.

With the new rudder back onboard today after undergoing some modifications, Britannia looked alivewith Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott pushing it hard through the 1-1.5 metre wave-forms and hitting fairly consistent speed of around 33 knots upwind and in excess of 40 knots downwind.

Again the stability was on show and the superb end-plating effect that the bustle creates was working super-well through the chop. Trim from Bleddyn Mon and Luke Parkinson was again on point and with LiDAR cameras capturing the sail shapes, it’s clear that development in this area will be very much in focus for the rest of the campaign.

Speaking afterwards, Giles Scott talked through the day saying: “We went out at 2pm after the ceremony and got four hours of sailing in, Jim came for a ride as well, he started off in the forward cyclor cockpit and had a little taste of what RB3 has to offer so yeah amazing for the whole team to get Jim on the boat but for us on the water as soon as we were done with that, it was business as normal and we had some tests to get through, we had the rudder warm back on so up and down just trying to get about locked in and a little bit of sea-state again today when sailing in.”

With the new rudder back in to replace the AC36 legacy one, Giles added: “It feels good, it's obviously been off the off the water for a little while now, good to get it back on and yeah it's a step on in terms of the generation of rudder design, it's certainly got its differences and the rudder elevator area is slightly less than the legacy rudder that we were using from AC36 so good to get that rudder back on and it feels good.”

The recon team noticed that by the end of the session a small fairing plate had come off the boat just near the rudder and Giles confirmed this saying: “Yes there was (a fairing plate there) and there's a little clamshell that normally sits underneath that and there's an option to run that rudder at a couple different draught settings.”

Talking about overall performance which has certainly caught the eyes of fellow competitors in the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup, Giles was asked whether the team were exceeding expectations, and he responded: “I wouldn't say exceeded expectations, I think everyone in the team feels like we've got a good platform to step forward with and I think the really positive thing is that we still see good steps that we can take to make the boat go even faster so to be honest that's what we're focusing on is we're not really focusing on where we are right now it's where we're going to be, come the first race, and yes full steam ahead to try and get as much out of the boat as we can.”

INEOS Britannia are certainly on a roll at the moment and it will a fascinating time ahead as they bring on the new technology and push the platform ever harder. The betting odds are changing in this Louis Vuitton 37thAmerica’s Cup and the smart money is moving towards the Challenger of Record. Is this their time? (Magnus Wheatley)

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