INEOS TEAM UK are gearing up to get back out on the race course this week, competing as the INEOS Rebels at the first event of the 2019 GC32 Racing Tour, the GC32 Villasimius Cup. The new season brings with it a new fleet and a new line up.
The team will compete with mix of youth and experience using the GC32 Tour to focus on crew rotation and development. Ben Ainslie returns as Helmsman with Giles Scott, fresh from his win at the 2019 Finn European Championships in Athens, as Tactician. America’s Cup veteran Joey Newton and former Olympic 49er gold medallist Iain Jensen will join the Villasimius line up, on jib and mainsail trim respectively.
Rebel ‘interns’ Oli Gerber and Ben Cornish will make up the sailing squad. After an intense selection period, the young sailors were chosen to join the senior Cup team earlier this year. Oli brings his GC32 experience to the team, having previously competed in the Extreme Sailing Series. Whilst former Olympic Finn campaigner Cornish is completely new to the class. The young sailors will rotate their position onboard.
INEOS TEAM UK first competed in the GC32 Racing Tour back in 2018 and despite missing the first event, finished second place overall after claiming victory in two of the remaining four events.
The GC32 Villasimius Cup takes place from Thursday 23rd May – Sunday 26th May with racing scheduled between 1300-1700 each day (local time + 1 hour). The GC32 Racing Tour will host a live race blog at http://www.gc32racingtour.com/
Thoughts from the team:
Ben Ainslie, Team Principal
“Our focus so far this year has really been testing T5, our development boat and building our first race boat, so we are looking forward to getting back out GC32 racing. We learnt a lot last season about getting the right set up and boat handling and communication so we are looking forward to build on that experience. Also having a few more boats within the fleet will up the intensity and provide some good solid racing.
“We will also use these first few GC32 events to rotate the sailing team and there will be a big focus on crew development and getting our Rebel sailing interns Oli [Greber] and Ben [Cornish] hands on and involved.”
Oli Greber, Sailing Intern
“It’s been a busy four months settling in with the team, there’s been a lot of information to take in and it’s been an intense learning period. I guess the biggest thing for me is just the scale of the operation, the strength and depth of all the team members is immense and there’s so much to learn from people in the team who have such great experience.
“I’m looking forward to getting back out on the GC32, my role onboard is bow and foils so essentially helping to fly the boat downwind and pulling the foils up and down so it’s quite a busy role especially if there’s a sea state! I’ve raced with Ben, Giles and Joey during the Extreme Sailing Series and I learnt a lot, it’s great to be onboard with such great experience.”
Ben Cornish, Sailing Intern
“We’re over four months into the programme and it’s been a totally new experience for me. Prior to joining the team I was solo sailing in the Finn and this is my first real interaction with a team of this size and scale and also a team who are working together towards a joint goal.
“Oli and I have got a great group of mentors within the senior team, who are trying to get us up on our feet as quickly as they can. There are so many parts that are required of the sailors to make it a success, for me even learning how the boat is built and how you maintain a boat during racing has all been very new to me. I did my first week of GC32 sailing last week, out in Villasimius and that was a really good start for me to be out there with the team and see what it takes to perform well so that will give me more understanding for this first event as to how I can help the team.
“There’s so much work that goes in outside of the racing, the days are busy to get the boat ready and I think the biggest learning for me so far is that you can’t just be a master of one area within this sport, coming into the America’s Cup environment has opened my eyes on how broad your knowledge needs to be in different areas and there’s always work to be done, there’s never enough time, you just need to chip in and get on with it.”
INEOS Rebels UK GC32 Villasimius Cup line up
Ben Ainslie, Team Principal and Helmsman
Giles Scott, Float / Tactician
Iain Jensen, Main Trimmer
Joey Newton, Jib Trimmer
Oli Greber/Ben Cornish (Rebels interns – will rotate)
Jono Macbeth, Sailing Team Manager
Leigh McMillan, Sailor
Rob Wilson, Team Coach
Ben Williams, Head of Human Performance
Matt Adams, Boat Captain
Tom Buggy, Shore Support
Harry KH, Drone Pilot