Pictures of the Ben Ainslie Racing Americas Cup team out in action today on their new T1 foiling AC45 catamaran Credit: Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images

The Ben Ainslie Racing Americas Cup team out in action on their new T1 foiling AC45 catamaran
Credit: Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images

Ben Ainslie Racing was launched on June 10 2014 in the presence of the Duchess of Cambridge.
The team was conceived by four-times Olympic gold medallist and 34th America’s Cup winner, Sir Ben Ainslie, with the long-term aim of challenging for Britain and bringing the America’s Cup back home to where it all began in 1851, with a race around the Isle of Wight.
The America’s Cup is the oldest international trophy in world sport, pre-dating the modern Olympics, the Ryder Cup and the World Cup – and Britain has never won it.
Almost one year on from the launch, and a couple of months from a competitive debut at the America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth, the team can look back on a packed 12 months of activity – a year that has taken them from Cup newbies to serious contenders.
The most visible symbol for many people is the purpose-built headquarters that’s nearing completion on Camber Dock, just 12 months after construction started.
No one that steps through the front doors of the new Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) headquarters will mistake the message. The location, the architecture, the scale of the undertaking, and the seriousness of the investment all say that the team is here to stay. BAR is a sports team and a business with long-term plans and long-term ambitions.
First and foremost is winning the America’s Cup, and the sailing team started training last summer, out on the Solent in two-man foiling multihulls. The design team was already hard at work on the team’s first design, a heavily modified AC45 that had previously competed in the America’s Cup World Series in 2012 and 2013.
This became ‘T1’ – Testing Boat 1 – and the goal was to develop ideas and equipment for the final America’s Cup boat. T1 was launched in October 2014, and has sailed for the last seven months in the Solent, with several iterations of subsequent modifications.
In the same month, the team launched the 1851 Trust with the Duchess of Cambridge as Royal Patron.
The Trust is the team’s official charity, and aims to inspire and engage a new generation through sailing and the marine industry.
It will provide young people with the education, skills and training to become innovators of the future, and stewards of the marine environment. The team will host a Visitor Centre for the Trust at their new headquarters.
It will be an interactive showcase for the sport, sustainability, technology and innovation, providing an educational resource that will support the STEM agenda – to focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in schools and universities.
The event organisation was also moving on, with the venue for the 35th America’s Cup announced in December 2014 as Bermuda.
The team flew out to the island in January 2015, becoming the first team to sail a foiling multihull on Bermudian waters.
It was the first of two sessions so far this year, sailing on the Cup race course in two equalised, two-man, foiling multihulls that optimise the sailors’ ability to research race conditions.
The commercial team was also busy, with several key announcements occurring over the winter; notably a partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies (RBAT), a division of the Red Bull Formula One group, and led by F1 guru Adrian Newey.
BAR’s Technical Innovation Group was then launched to provide a vehicle to bring together British industry to contribute to this unique technical and sporting challenge.
And to further reinforce that this was an America’s Cup team that was doing things differently, Martin Whitmarsh, former CEO of the McLaren Group and Team Principal of the McLaren F1 team, joined BAR as CEO in April 2015.
The team has made much of their sustainability credentials, and firmly established them in February, when prime minister David Cameron visited Portsmouth for the announcement that the team had been awarded the Olympic-inspired international standard, ISO 20121.
It provides a framework for delivery of sustainable operation, and BAR is the only sports team in the UK to have achieved the certification across all its activities.
It’s a phenomenal range of achievements for a sports team in the first year of its existence, and now the team must draw breath and prepare for competition. In the past couple of weeks, they have launched the first AC45F – the boat that will be used in the America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth – and begun race training.
On July 25 Ben Ainslie Racing will become the first British team to contest an official America’s Cup competition in front of a home crowd since 1851.
It will happen in Portsmouth, on the team’s training waters, right out the front of their new headquarters.
We’re lucky to have it happening on our doorstep, but it will also be covered live by BT Sport, with highlights on the BBC.
It’s going to be an extraordinary weekend.