‘Last Place On Earth You Want Race Course’

May 9, 2016

The race organisers put the course between the Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan and the Goldman Sachs building in Jersey City, and “in terms of topography for disturbing wind flow this is probably the most disruptive” and the “last place on earth you would want to put a race course,” Sir Ben Ainslie said following this weekend’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series racing in New York.

America's Cup New York, May 8 2016 (5)

Writing for the Telegraph, Sir Ben said “First of all, let me say what a pleasure it was to be in New York last week.

“New York really is an iconic place and one which has a special connection with the America’s Cup that dates back 165 years to when the New York Yacht Club won the inaugural match and took the trophy back from Britain across the Atlantic.

“Our team, Land Rover BAR, are working to finally turn the 165-year losing streak around. But while it is fantastic to be showcasing the World Series boats on the Hudson I am sure Lipton would have been as bemused as I was by the location of the race course for the 21st century America’s Cup.

“Sadly, the race organisers and harbour authority were forced to put the course between the imposing Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan and the Goldman Sachs building in Jersey City.

“In terms of topography for disturbing wind flow this is probably the most disruptive it could be and in my opinion the last place on earth you would want to put a race course.

“As competitors we have a problem. We have to accept the trade-off between maintaining the integrity of the racing and helping to promote our sport in front of new audiences. I find myself in a tricky spot on this debate.

“On the one hand, as a team principal responsible for raising money to fund our campaign, I understand greatly the commercial realities here and the fact that the America’s Cup with its immense history does need to modernise and attract a new generation of fans.

“On the other, wearing my sailor’s cap, I have to say that Sunday’s racing was about as frustrating as it gets. It is one thing if you are exhibition racing but these World Series races matter, the points go towards the America’s Cup proper in Bermuda next summer and, as we saw from Oracle’s 9-8 win last time out, every single point counts.

“Sailing will always be governed by Mother Nature but we can, and should, be much more proactive in going to venues, or particular race areas at venues, where we know at certain times of the year we are guaranteed the best conditions for racing.

“Again, there are commercial realities to funding the costs of hosting these World Series events but at the very least we need to try to find ways around this to make the events make sense financially but also make sense from a sailing standpoint.

“Ultimately, for this sport to grow we need to guarantee the integrity of the racing, not just for the sailors but also for the fans, who are more attuned to this issue than some may think.”

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Comments (7)

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  1. no love says:

    Sounds like sour grapes Ben. Everyone sailed in the same conditions. Some succeeded and some failed.

    • Not exactly says:

      But watching reruns on Saturday and wind not strong enough to fight the river current on Sunday was frustrating as a spectator no matter who you support.

  2. Lualaba says:

    Actually agree with Sir Ben, worst place for racing, but, best place for advertising! If the had moved the course down off of Battery Park, the racing would have been 100% better!!!

  3. Cranberry says:

    I’m no Ainslie supporter but as a venue for high performance foiling sailboat racing the venue was a farce…

    Behold the power of money!!

  4. aceboy says:

    Yep. Conditions were the same for all. This sounds like a PLP press conference, explaining their failure by blaming it on something else.


    Sailing is a great experience , can be very challenging be it the Volvo round the world or a 10 year old sailing a dinghy.

    We saw all of the AC teams experience hardship thwart with frustration agony and disappointment , Sailing is not all peaches and cream .

    The best is yet to come to the Great Sound in Bermuda which is with out doubt one of the best sailing venues on the Planet , where, you will get your opportunity to sail with the Wind Gods.