RIVA DEL GARDA, ITA (#1022) – Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup rebranding is extending down to the youth sailing team that is competing in the Extreme Sailing Series. That team is now known as the INEOS Rebels UK and its first regatta under the new name is the GC32 World Championships this weekend in Riva del Garda, Italy. It is Act 2 of the Extreme Sailing Series and the British team is hoping to move up to a podium finish at its second racing event of 2018.
Late last month, Ainslie and INEOS announced that the British petrochemical company was investing 110 million pounds ($153 million) to take over naming rights of what had been Land Rover BAR. It is the biggest British investment in the country’s 167-year attempt to win back the trophy it lost to the schooner America in 1851. The team originally was called INEOS Team GB but changed it to INEOS Team UK after British Olympic bosses told INEOS chairman and CEO Jim Ratcliffe that they wouldn’t give up their Olympic "Team GB" trademark for free.
The INEOS Rebels UK team is made up of some of the country's top youth sailing talent between 19 and 24. The “Rebels” initiative aims to change the face of youth sailing in the UK by offering an opportunity for talented young sailors to push themselves as they develop their skills both on and off the water. It also offers a pathway for young British sailors to enter the America's Cup.
The team is fourth in the Extreme Sailing Series after Act 1 in March. Three-time Extreme Sailing Series winner and INEOS Team UK senior sailor Leigh McMillan leads the team as helmsman and mentor, with Will Alloway as skipper. The rest of the crew includes bow Oli Greber, main trimmer Mark Spearman, float Adam Kay and float-reserve Matt Brushwood.
NEOS Rebels UK at the GC32 World Championships / Act 2 Extreme Sailing Series. Photo: HarryKH/ INEOS Rebels UK