State of Play | Ben Ainslie


Ben Ainslie writes how the future of sailing looks faster, eco-focused and more diverse for Boat International


It’s hard to keep track of what’s happened since my last update for BOAT International, but needless to say 2021 was a hell of a year for all of us – in many ways.

When I signed off last April, we were just off the back of New Zealand’s defence of the America’s Cup. As Challenger of Record, we had the responsibility of agreeing the protocol and class rule for the next edition of the Cup, AC37. The deadline for announcing the protocol was November 2021 and you’d be forgiven for thinking that eight months would be ample time to get our heads together with the Kiwis to agree a pathway. The reality was, while we agreed on so many key areas there were inevitably a few points where competitive instinct and fairness caused something of a stalemate. We finally agreed on the document at the eleventh hour, but it’s a protocol and set of rules that both teams are proud to stand by.