Sir Ben Ainslie’s British America’s Cup Challenger of Record, Ineos Britannia, will set up a training base onf Mallorca this summer as the UK syndicate ramps up its sailing operations ahead of the 37th America’s Cup in 2024.
A formal announcement is expected later this week but the Ineos Britannia team principal confirmed to Cup Insider this weekend that the team is well advanced with plans for the training base in Palma which Ainslie said he expects to be up and running later this year.
In previous America’s Cup campaigns the British team, which was then based in Portsmouth in the UK, trained on The Solent – the narrow and congested strip of of water separating the British mainland from the nearby Isle of Wight – as well as in Cagliari, Sardinia.
The British base will be located in the Porto Pi area of the Palma marina district with easy access to the Bay of Palma – a popular regatta venue for the Olympic classes as well as superyacht and grand prix racing fleets like the TP52 class, whose 2021 World Championship was hosted at the nearby Real Club Nautico de Palma (RCNP).
Mallorca is at the centre of the Mediterranean marine industry and is renowned as both a cruising venue and a refit centre for the world’s largest super yachts. Barcelona – the host city for the 37th America’s Cup – is less than an hour’s away.
The British are believed to have opted for Palma partly because of its more predictable year round weather conditions and also perhaps because it will allow them to train in relative seclusion.
An added attraction could also be that off the water Mallorca is a cycling Mecca where many top tier professional cycling teams run their winter training camps. With cyclors rather than traditional grinders looking to feature heavily in the next America’s Cup the island could be the perfect place for the British power generation squad to develop their leg muscles.
Not all of the British syndicate’s staff will be involved in the Mallorca operation. The design and development teams will continue to work from the UK at the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team main facility in Bracknell.
British double Olympic gold medallist, Giles Scott, who raced as tactician aboard the UK AC75 at the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland last year is expected to pay a major role in the Palma training operation.
Scott was Olympic champion in the singlehanded Finn dinghy at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 and has plenty of experience of training and racing out on Palma Bay.
Precise details of the team’s training plans are still under wraps at this stage but it is understand that the British squad’s AC40 training boat will see plenty of action in Mallorca waters once the team takes delivery.
Meanwhile a recent announcment that the second Ineos Britannia AC75 foiling monohull yacht from the last America’s Cup had been donated to a sailing museum in Cowes has left sailing fans scratching their heads on what larger boat the British crew will train on before the team’s new AC75 – still at concept stage right now – sees the light of day.
The news that the British challenger’s training plans comes on the heels of the New York Yacht Club American Magic announcment that the US team would once again be training from their base in Pensacola, Florida.
In the meantime the Italian challenger Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli syndicate continues to operate from its headquarters in Cagliari, Italy, where work on the challenge for the 37th America’s Cup is believed to have begun immediately after the last Cup concluded.
Little is known about the plans that the Swiss Challenger Alinghi Red Bull Racing maybe hatching in regards to an open water training base.
The past-America’s Cup winners have presented themselves as a very Swiss focused campaign and having not taken part in the 36th AC will in June this year be the first team allowed to sail their last generation AC75 (previously Emirates Team New Zealand’s boat one Te Aihe). Where and precisely when that will be is not known at this stage – but possibly the first sailing session will be from the team’s headquarters on Lake Geneva.
The Swiss team is fielding two crews on the GC32 Racing Tour – one helmed by Alinghi stalwart Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI) and the other by fellow Swiss 49er and Flying Phantom skipper Maxime Bachelin.
America’s Cup Defenders Emirates Team New Zealand have indicated that they plan to remain in Auckland for the majority of their training in the lead up to the 37th America’s Cup and have not confirmed when they will decamp to Barcelona.