Land Rover BAR defended their Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth title in front of huge home crowds and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to take an overall lead going into the final two events of the season.
The team clinched a win and two seconds on the final day to secure a second title on home waters following their World Series debut victory in 2015.
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The result puts Land Rover BAR into the overall lead for the series with just two events left in 2016. The top two teams after the World Series take points into the America's Cup qualifying series in Bermuda 2017.
“It’s brilliant for us as the home team to win again in front of our home crowd," said skipper and team principal Ben Ainslie.
"It means a huge amount to us. For a new team to be leading the World Series now is a good indication of how far we’ve come, but there’s still a long way to go, a lot of hard work between now and the America’s Cup."
The double points-scoring final day began with a wire-to-wire win after Ainslie and his team clearly won the start and steadily extended from the current America’s Cup holder Oracle Team USA around the seven-leg course.
A slower start in the second race meant a chase through the fleet, with Land Rover BAR going from fifth to second place - just a handful of seconds behind Oracle Team USA at the finish.
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The result gave Land Rover BAR a three-point lead over Oracle Team USA going into the finale with both teams enjoying a significant lead over the rest of the fleet.
The situation was immediately reflected off the start line of the last race, as Land Rover BAR chased the Americans around the course. Second place was enough to take both the final race and the series lead by a point.
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The team, who won two out of three races on Saturday, have now clinched three World Series crowns after also winning in Oman in February.
Thoughts on the racing:
Ben Ainslie, skipper and team principal: “It was a real team work day, these boats are really hard to handle on such a short course. The guys did an incredible job with the boat handling and that’s what really got us out of some of those tough situations.
“Full credit to the team and everyone back at the Camber at the base, we’ve got a hundred odd people there, designing and building boats and components for the Cup next year, and I think it’s a big moment for them as well to know that we can go out and win these events.”
Freddie Carr, grinder: "All three races we got off the line really cleanly. To be honest, CJ and I were completely in tune with Ben, we were ripping and we got out of some tough spots, and then although we didn't really feel like we were gybing out of mark one that well we look around and they weren't that bad compared to the fleet. Downwind speed was fine and then from there we said 'let's not move backwards'.
"Hours and hours and hours of practice pulled this together and the five of us were reading off the same play sheet all day. Although it wasn't the cleanest day boat handling, it seemed to go just fine.
"We are in a massive phase of our Cup campaign at the moment, going into Bermuda next year and the lift this gives to everyone at the base - it's huge. We are putting a real line in the sand for where our sailing team is at and our test boats are going really well. We are front-footing it right now it's a great time for us."
Nick Hutton, trimmer: "It was awesome to win at home, it's obviously the key event of our year. It is like Wembley for us.
"The big picture is we have taken the lead in the World Series, for us as a new team it's fantastic to go up against the established teams like Oracle, Artemis and Team New Zealand. It's great moving forward into the future."