COWES, IOW (#1098) – Over drinks, [Sir Ben] Ainslie told him of his "gut-wrenching" disappointment of the Bermuda 2017 America's Cup. Ainslie's fledgling team reached the semifinals of the challenger series, only to lose heavily to eventual winner Team New Zealand. He describes the whole experience as "massively frustrating," knowing from a long way out they didn't have the firepower, in terms of boat speed, to contend. [James] Ratcliffe chides his new friend: "He's not been very good at not winning, have you?" Ainslie told Ratcliffe his LandRover BAR team, as it was then known, was "realistically, up against it," saying he would need a far bigger budget -- up to 30% more -- to fund the two radical new 75-foot foiling monohull boats that will be the weapons of choice in Auckland. Ratcliffe was keen, but only if Ineos could be the sole sponsor, instead of relying on a coterie of backers. Joint ventures, he says, "just make life more complicated." "Then it's down to Ben and his team to design a fast boat so you get to the start line with a boat that's competitive and then you've got the race, you've got the sport," he says."If you're going to do it, do it properly." Ainslie had come to the same conclusion and agreed a "gracious parting" with title sponsor Land Rover, as well as backers such as BT, Charles Dunstone of Carphone Warehouse and air miles entrepreneur Keith Mills. He took up with Ineos within "weeks." –Excerpt from an excellent article by Rob Hodgetts on the CNN website posted Wednesday, from an interview with Mr Ratcliffe and Sir Ben during last week's Prada-sponsored AC "Overture" and Hall of Fame induction at Cowes.
Read Mr Hodgetts' full story headlined "Jim Ratcliffe: Britain's richest man plots America's Cup coup," with some good images and graphics, here.
More on Sailing Illustrated's "TGIF with TFE" live webcast today at 1300 PDT / 1600 EDT / 2200 CET / 0800+1 NZT on our SI Facebook page.
Plotting an America's Cup coup: Britain's richest person, James Ratcliffe (GBR, left) and Sir Ben Ainslie, head of the INEOS Team UK challenge for the 2021 America' Cup presented by Prada, were interviewed by CNN at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes last Friday. Mr Ratcliffe is investing US$141 into Sir Ben's quest to win the 36th America's Cup. The UK has tried unsuccessfully multiple times to win the Auld Mug since the inaugural race hosted by the RYS in 1851. Photo by Harry KH for CNN.com/sailing