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British Challenge for the America’s Cup

A computer mock-up of what a new foiling AC75 class monohull with INEOS Team GB livery should look like when it hits the water.

© 2018 INEOS Team GB

Sir Ben Ainslie’s British campaign for the 36th America’s Cup got a much-needed shot in the arm last week when British petrochemical giant INEOS was announced as the team’s sole new sponsor. With the commitment to more than $150 million in funding toward the next America’s Cup, Ainslie has put forth an ambitious two-boat campaign that hopes to return the America’s Cup to the UK for the first time since the Brits lost it in the inaugural edition in 1851. The syndicate has been fully restructured under its new sponsor and is now known as INEOS Team GB.

Ben Ainslie will no longer be seen sporting Land Rover BAR gear, as seen in this America’s Cup 35 PR photo. "We are extremely disappointed having worked tirelessly to support Ben and the entire team … It is a great blow to us all that our partnership will not continue," Land Rover said in a statement shortly after INEOS Team GB’s announcement.

© Land Rover BAR

In addition to the new fully funded British effort, three other teams are confirmed for AC 36, to be sailed in 75-ft foiling monohulls. Emirates Team New Zealand is the defender, while Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy) is the official challenger. Also jumping into the fray is a new syndicate from the New York Yacht Club — American Magic — which will be skippered by Terry Hutchinson and helmed by Kiwi Dean Barker.

Many American sailing fans, including this writer, have expressed disappointment with the selection of a Kiwi to drive the American boat in the next America’s Cup. To that effect, there is a serious effort by a group of professional sailors, industry leaders and financial backers who are working to put together an all-American challenge for the 2021 America’s Cup. Currently skippered by match-racing wünderkind Taylor Canfield, the team got a needed boost in momentum when their core group defeated American Magic and its Kiwi skipper Dean Barker 3-1 in the prestigious Congressional Cup sailed off Long Beach just over a week ago.

Taylor Canfield and his Team US One are all smiles after winning the Congressional Cup on April 18-22. They beat NYYC’s American Magic team and Dean Barker by a score of 3-1 in the finals.

© 2018 Bronny Daniels / Joysailing

We’ll have periodic updates during the lead-up to America’s Cup 36. Also see www.americascup.com.

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As we cracked open the pages of the just-delivered May issue of Latitude 38 we were concurrently reminded that the question posed in Sightings regarding the possibility of running the 7th annual SoCal Ta-Ta had already been answered.