The first America's Cup Class catamaran has hit the water in Bermuda, launched by Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing.
85,000 man hours over three years by a 120-strong team and the end product for Land Rover BAR is Rita, the British America’s Cup team’s America’s Cup Class (ACC) yacht which was launched today at the team’s brand new base in Bermuda’s Royal Dockyard. Rita, as all Ben Ainslie’s competitive boats have been named, is the yacht which will carry the hopes of the British nation as Ben and his team attempt to win the 35th running of the America’s Cup, the first time in its 166 year history that the Cup would be won by a team from Great Britain.
Georgie Ainslie, Ben’s wife, officially christened Rita and then R1 (the boat’s technical designation) was lifted into the water, the first of the six teams competing in the 35th America’s Cup to unveil the boat with which they will challenge for the oldest trophy in international sport.
Talking about this momentous occasion for the whole team, Ben Ainslie told guests at the unveiling that “this day is a big deal for us, finally being able to launch the race boat. The America’s Cup has always been a design race as much as a sailing race and what we’re launching today is the culmination of two and half years of flat out work from our designers, boat builders and our shorecrew, and all the guys who’ve been out there in our test boats.
“It’s a great moment to see our ACC race boat hit the water in Bermuda. The launch represents the sum of all the team’s efforts to bring the America’s Cup home, and we’re delighted to get her in the water here in Bermuda. We’re a start-up team, and we had to build not just the boat but the design and engineering team, the facilities and the processes to get to this point today. There are just a few short months before the racing starts at the end of May, and we will be working very hard now on the final development and testing of this boat to make sure we are ready for the racing.
“The next few weeks and months are going to be a fascinating period. Once you put in all that effort, over 85,000 man hours in total on the design and build, into the water you’re locked in to what you’ll be racing with and as the other teams launch their own boats, this is going to be very interesting. To a certain extent we’ve been playing catch up with the teams which have carried on since the last America’s Cup, and we’ve seen that in the test boats, but the ACC boats are another big step up and we’re very excited about ours going into the water.”
Richard Hopkirk; Land Rover BAR Engineering Manager, picked up on the technical journey the team has embarked upon since work started on ‘Rita’ over two and a half years ago, saying, “the design, engineering and build process for a boat of this complexity stretches back to the very earliest days of the campaign. Everyone in the team and all our partners have contributed to getting this boat ready here today, and we’re all very proud of the achievement. The innovation, technology and attention to detail in the design and construction continue the America’s Cup’s traditions of the most advanced sailboats on the planet. We believe this is the most sophisticated and best prepared British challenger, with a total campaign design effort of 50,000 hours, and a construction effort of 35,000 hours for Rita.”