The UK’s challenge for the 2021 American’s Cup has attracted INEOS, the global petrochemical and manufacturing group, as its sponsor working with Sir Ben Ainslie and backing it with £110m. For the INEOS Team GB, this is the largest investment ever supporting a UK challenge for the America’s Cup.
INEOS describes the investment as an “unprecedented effort to bring the trophy back to Britain for the first time since the competition was established in 1851”. INEOS is partnering with Sir Ben Ainslie, who will lead the design-and-build boat programme and skipper the racing yacht.
INEOS Team GB will represent the Royal Yacht Squadron’s affiliated club, Royal Yacht Squadron Racing, who issued the challenge to the current holder represented by Emirates Team New Zealand.
Jim Ratcliffe, INEOS chairman, says: “The America’s Cup is one of the world’s most competitive yacht races and Britain has never won it, despite founding the competition over 150 years ago. With the team we have assembled, we believe we can get a fully competitive boat to the start line. After that it’s all down to the fine art of sailing. Ben is arguably the best sailor that Britain has ever produced, so we should have a fighting chance of success.”
INEOS will use its world-class technologies and manufacturing know-how to support Sir Ben Ainslie in developing an internationally competitive boat and give INEOS Team GB the best possible chance of success. The partnership with Ainslie will see his team design, build and race the two-boat strategy. The boats will be 22.8m (75ft) foiling monohulls and will use the very best of British technology and boat construction.
Ratcliffe adds: “INEOS has taken on many serious projects in the past but none more exciting than this. We have a first-class team and will do everything we can to bring this trophy back to Britain where it belongs.”
INEOS Team GB’s CEO is America’s Cup legend, Grant Simmer, who has competed in 10 America’s Cups and won four – first as a young navigator aboard Alan Bond’s Australia II, then twice with the Swiss team Alinghi, and most recently with Oracle Team USA where – along with Ben Ainslie – they fought back from an 8 -1 deficit to win the trophy.
INEOS Team GB’s chief designer is New Zealander Nick Holroyd, one of the men responsible for Emirates New Zealand’s Cup winning strategy. He is joined by British Olympic gold medallist Giles Scott, who will act as the team’s tactician.
Sir Ben says: “This is an amazing boost for British sport. With this significant commitment from INEOS to fully fund a two-boat challenge, Britain now has its best opportunity to bring the America’s Cup back home to Britain where it belongs.”