Ainslie getting to grips with Bermuda
Ben Ainslie Racing, one of the challengers for the 35th America’s Cup, have returned to Bermuda with their full team for a second training camp in two months.
The British racing syndicate, led by team principal and helmsman Sir Ben Ainslie, are back to gather additional data that will prove vital in the design of the team’s AC62 catamaran to be used in the America’s Cup play-offs, previously known as the Louis Vuitton Cup, and America’s Cup match that Bermuda will host in 2017.
“We are getting used to the place and conditions to try to understand some of the conditions to feed back to our designers and give them input into what we think the fastest boat’s characteristics will be in a place like this,” Paul Campbell-James, the wingman on BAR’s AC45, said.
“Obviously Bermuda is very small for an America’s Cup venue, so there is going to be a lot of manoeuvres practised and the boats have got to be set up so that you can throw them about.”
Another objective of the training exercise is to enhance the team’s foiling capability on both ends of the racetrack.
The wing sail AC45 and AC62 catamarans are equipped with hydrofoils that lift the hull out of the water as the boat accelerates, thus reducing drag and increasing speed.
“The more time we can spend on foils in whatever type of boat the better. There’s a lot of stuff within the kind of characteristics of the venue that calls for specifics,” Campbell-James added.
“For example, if the waves are steep then the foils will have to be designed slightly differently, so a lot of sailing will be useful because of the foils.”
The ability to foil at both ends of the racetrack played an integral part of Oracle Team USA’s successful America’s Cup defence in San Francisco in 2013.
“That’s what it’s all about, you got to stay up on the foils all the time whereas last time people were foiling upwind at the very end,” Campbell-James said.
Campbell-James and his team-mates will refine their foiling skills in the team’s two 20-foot foiling catamarans that are based here over the next several days.
“Ben will drive one boat and I will drive the other and we will duke it out swapping the crews between the two boats and see what we find out,” he said.
BAR launched in Bermuda last January before returning to the UK to test their modified AC45, which is a prototype for the team’s AC62 that will be rolled out next year.
“We’ve got our 45-foot foiler back on the Solent and have been getting some really good time in that considering the British winter, which is obviously pretty chilly,” Campbell-James said.
“We’ve been out in the snow, been out in gales and no wind. We’ve had a bit of everything but it’s actually going really well.
“Over there we are dressed in about ten layers and now we are here in shorts and I actually had to buy a pair of sunglasses because it was too sunny.”
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