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PRADA Cup – Ben Ainslie and Ineos Team UK leading the challenger series

The America’s Cup is the oldest international sporting trophy and the big one in sailing, but in order to determine which of the Challenger teams will take on the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand, they first have to win the PRADA Cup, an eliminator series with 12 days of round robin races.

Sailing clubs from the UK, Italy and America are currently all competing for the chance to challenge New Zealand in the 36th America’s Cup. Although Britain has never won the “auld mug” before, Ineos Team UK captained by Sir Ben Ainslie have had a solid start in the challenger series so far.

At the warm-up series in December things didn’t look promising for the British team, but at the first day of racing last Friday, they managed to secure wins against American Magic and Luna Rossa respectively.

Over the weekend the winning continued, with a difficult victory over the Americans in light conditions on Saturday. On Sunday, conditions were trickier still and the first race against Italy’s Luna Rossa team was abandoned. The restarted race was a thrilling event with three changes of lead, but Ainslie and the team managed to cross the line 18 seconds ahead of the competition.

In the following race between Luna Rossa and American Magic, the Americans capsized spectacularly and had to be towed back to shore. At this PRADA cup the races have been short, frantic and extraordinary to behold, with a beautiful backdrop of New Zealand’s North Head.

There’s still a way to go for Ineos Team UK yet, with another round robin stage starting on Friday, followed by a semi-final and a final. The winner of this final will then get the chance to sail a best of 13 match with the Kiwis, which kicks off on 6th March. The question we’re all asking is, could Ainslie turn it around and finally bring sailing home?

Ineos Team UK are supported by British heritage brand Belstaff, who was named back in October as the official on-shore outfitting partner for the British Challenger to the 36th America’s Cup Challenge. Belstaff supports the team on their quest to bring the oldest international sporting trophy back to Great Britain for the first time in its history.

Belstaff has been outfitting adventurous spirits – from motorcycle legends and sporting icons to movie stars and revolutionaries – since 1924. For nearly one hundred years the brand has been making and innovating apparel that’s built for adventure and adversity alike, for journeys made by land, air, and sea. Belstaff’s maritime connections are deeply rooted in its history, having made apparel for the British Royal Navy. Belstaff was selected for its functionality and protection, with these features remaining a key consideration in its latest collections.

Image source: Belstaff

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