America's Cup intent signalled as Sir Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR secure victory in Portsmouth

Ross McLean
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Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge At America's Cup World Series
Land Rover BAR top the series leaderboard with two events of the season remaining (Source: Getty)

Team principal Sir Ben Ainslie hailed the progress of his Land Rover BAR side after they claimed a narrow victory on the final day of the World Series event in Portsmouth.

Land Rover BAR and defending America's Cup champions Oracle Team USA won the first two races of the day respectively before a second-placed finish in the final episode saw the Britons triumph by one point and retain their Portsmouth crown.

The result means that Ainslie’s team top the 2016 series leaderboard with two events of the season remaining. The top two teams at the end of the World Series take a point lead into the next stage of the competition in Bermuda in May 2017.

“I think that for a new team to be leading the World Series now is a good indication of how far we’ve come, but there’s still a long way to go, a lot of hard work between now and the America’s Cup,” said Ainslie.

“It’s brilliant for us as the home team to win again in front of our home crowd, all our supporters. It means a huge amount to us and we’re delighted.

“It was real teamwork day. These boats are really hard to handle on such a short course. The guys did an incredible job with the boat handling and that’s what really got us out of some tough situations.”

Ainslie was part of the Oracle Team USA team which produced a stunning comeback to beat Team New Zealand in the deciding clash in San Francisco in 2013, but is bidding to guide a British side to America’s Cup success for the first time.