Deed of gift challenge doesn’t sit comfortably with all British yachting faithful

“The sense that buying the Cup is a somewhat vulgar expression of opportunism is prevalent in many that I spoke to in Cowes over the weekend – it would be far more welcomed after a hard-won, deserved British victory – and that’s fair enough,” says a British sailing blogger.

Reported by the sports staff at New Zealand website Stuff, the article makes interesting reading:

It seems a deed of gift America’s Cup challenge between Team New Zealand and Team UK on the Solent doesn’t sit comfortably with all the yachting die-hards in Britain.

It’s one of the options on the table for Team New Zealand as they look to move the Cup forward following their successful defence against Luna Rossa at Auckland 2021.

Team UK boss Sir Ben Ainslie, with support from his billionaire backer Sir Jim Ratcliffe, believes the concept of taking the Auld Mug back to it 1851 origins on the famous stretch of British water, would be “a game-changer”, with the special challenge proposed for 2022 giving some much-needed momentum to the event ahead of a full regatta in 2024, most likely back in Auckland.

INEOS TEAM UK Founder and Chairman
INEOS TEAM UK Founder and Chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe with team CEO and skipper Sir Ben Ainslie. Photo INEOS Team UK.

Yacht racing has just resumed out of Cowes on the Solent as the sport emerges from a harsh winter in Britain where the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll.

An 80-boat offshore regatta over Easter was the chance for British pundit Magnus Wheatley to run a barometer over how the serious yachties felt about Britain being handed a gilt-edged opportunity to finally win the America’s Cup and, surprisingly, not everyone is in favour.

“If Ratcliffe and Co. can pull off the impossible and get AC racing in the Solent it would be the icing on the cake in 2022 but doubt hangs in the air like an acrid, toxic mist,” Wheatley wrote in his Rule69 blog that produced some of the most pointed wisdom on the America’s Cup action in Auckland over the New Zealand summer.

Read the full story, including the reaction of the British sailing fraternity to the deed of gift challenge at Stuff.co.nz.

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