Auckland: Sailing legend Ben Ainslie was reduced to poking fun at his multi-million-dollar British yacht as INEOS Team UK suffered another disastrous day at the America’s Cup warm-up event in Auckland on Sunday.
Ainslie was penalised at the start of his race against American Magic and was reminded by the umpire that meant he had to drop back 50 metres (55 yards).
“It’ll happen soon enough,” Ainslie replied, frustrated at his yacht’s lack of speed, particularly in light winds, and acknowledging he would soon fall further than 50 metres off the pace.
When American Magic crossed the finish line, Ainslie’s crew were five minutes behind and did not finish.
The defending America’s Cup holders Team New Zealand won the three-day warm-up regatta with five wins from their six races.
American Magic, which inflicted the only defeat on Team New Zealand, was second with four wins while Luna Rossa won three times to be third.
INEOS was well off the pace on the first day when they were unable to finish their second race because of ongoing problems with the high-tech foil arms, which lift the 23-metre (75-foot) yachts above the surface of the water.
They showed glimpses of potential on the second day, including edging Team New Zealand at the start, before their lack of pace proved costly and they again failed to win.
INEOS Team UK is believed to have the largest budget, reportedly bankrolled by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe to the tune of 110 million pounds (US$150 million).
The warm-up series, and a one-day regatta on Sunday, are the only chance the challengers have to test their match-racing skills before challenger series next month.
The winner will go on to face Team New Zealand for the America’s Cup in March.