Hundreds gather for Sir Ben Ainslie at the London Boat Show
Olympians Ben Ainslie and Paul Goodison and their Ben Ainslie Racing Teammate Matt Cornwall draw a large crowd gathered in front of his J.P. Morgan BAR AC45 multihull at the London Boat Show 2014.
Held at ExCeL, London, the event saw Island Sailing Club Commodore John Dudley announce that the title sponsorship of the Round the Island (RTI) Race will continue to reside with J.P. Morgan Asset Management for a further two-year period up to and including 2016.
The announcement took place at stand G280, which exhibits the very boat which broke the Race Multihull record last year.
In addition to the race sponsorship continuation, J.P. Morgan announced their commitment to the sport of sailing by title sponsoring Sir Ben and his team BAR in the Extreme Sailing Series 2014.
The first race of the global series will be held in Singapore. The BAR team will include Olympic gold medallist Laser sailor Paul Goodison as tactician and on the main sheet, and Matt ‘Catflap’ Cornwall as bowman.
Sir Ben admitted that trying to break the RTI multihull record on 21 June would be a tough challenge and said that he was waiting to see the forecast before he decided which boat to use on the day – the AC45 or the smaller Extreme Sailing Series multihull.
He thanked the public saying: ‘We really do appreciate all the support. It was amazing to come back from the America’s Cup and see how many people had watched and supported it.’
Sir Ben said a British America’s Cup win was a part of maritime history that was missing. He said: ‘The America’s Cup started here in 1851 around the Isle of Wight, the American’s won it and we haven’t seen the cup back here since – it’s about time we turned that around.’
He added: ‘There’s a lot of passion for sailing in the UK, and a lot of talent in terms of British sailing designers, sailors and engineers. We’ve got the expertise, it’s about pulling the right people together to create a winning team.’
This afternoon HRH The Princess Royal will attend the show, visiting the Ben Ainslie Racing stand, Haines Marine, Raymarine, Hartley Boats, Southerly Yachts, the Royal Navy stand, Ocean Safety Ltd, the Little Ship Club team, Commodore Yachting, Gill and the Inland Waterways Association between 2.50pm and 4.30pm.
At 3pm, Princess Anne will be officially naming the Drascombe Longboat ‘Penny Wake’ and at 3.35pm she will present the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Yachtsmaster of the Year award.
The London Boat Show, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, runs until Sunday, 12 January. Find out more at www.londonboatshow.com