UK petrochemicals manufacturer Ineos has agreed a record-breaking sponsorship deal to support Britain’s challenge for the 2021 America’s Cup sailing event.
The partnership has led to the formation of Ineos Team GB, which will be led by British sailing legend Sir Ben Ainslie. Ineos Team GB will challenge defending champion Emirates Team New Zealand at the 2021 America’s Cup, which is set to take place in Auckland.
Ineos has committed to backing the team to the tune of £110m (€126.3m/$153.5m), which marks the biggest ever British America’s Cup investment. Ainslie (pictured), who won the 2013 America’s Cup with Oracle Team USA, will serve as Ineos Team GB’s team principal. Four-time winner Grant Simmer has been named as chief executive of the team, with Nick Holroyd and Giles Scott to serve as chief designer and tactician, respectively.
Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe said: “The America’s Cup is one of the world’s most competitive yacht races and Britain has never won it, despite founding the competition over 150 years ago. With the team we have assembled, we believe we can get a fully competitive boat to the start line. After that it’s all down to the fine art of sailing. Ben is arguably the best sailor that Britain has ever produced so we should have a fighting chance of success.”
Ainslie added: “This is an amazing boost for British sport. With this significant commitment from Ineos to fully fund a two-boat challenge, Britain now has its best opportunity to bring the America’s Cup back home to Britain where it belongs.”
Ineos Team GB will represent the Royal Yacht Squadron’s affiliated club, Royal Yacht Squadron Racing.
Ainslie had been putting together his Land Rover BAR (Ben Ainslie Racing) team to challenge Emirates Team New Zealand at the 2021 event but the Reuters news agency reported that the Ineos deal will see him end his partnership with Land Rover and other commercial sponsors. Reuters added that Ainslie will no longer receive support from private backers.
Ainslie said that his previous commercial partners were disappointed by the news but “incredibly gracious”.