Land Rover BAR launches academy

British AC challenger creates performance pathway

Saturday January 23rd 2016, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

BAR, the British America's Cup Challenger and Land Rover, the team's Title and Exclusive Innovation Partner, have deepened their commitment to creating a sustainable talent programme in sailing with the launch of the Land Rover BAR Academy. This new initiative will find and support talented young British sailors, and create a pathway into the America's Cup.

The immediate goal is to select a British team to compete in the Red Bull Youth America's Cup in 2017. Raced in the same AC45F that the senior teams use for the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series, every America's Cup Challenger and the Defender must enter a team into the RBYAC. The finals will be fought out during the main competition in Bermuda 2017.

The RBYAC is seen as an important pathway for young sailors into the Cup, and competitors will be hoping to follow the example of two of the sailors aboard the winning New Zealand boat in 2013 – Peter Burling and Blair Tuke – who are now on the Kiwi's senior sailing crew.

The Land​ Rover B​AR Acade​my will ​race in ​the Extr​eme Sail​ing Seri​es in th​e foilin​g GC32 catamaran.

Castrol will be joining as a partner of the Academy, implementing a full carbon offsetting programme for the Academy's activities.

Sustainability will be embedded at the heart of what the Academy does, just as it is throughout Land Rover BAR. The Academy's programme for 2016 will see a team entered for the Extreme Sailing Series. Now in its tenth season, the Extreme Sailing Series has brought sailing action to city centre's all over the world with its high-speed catamarans and stadium sailing format. The Series now uses a foiling multihull, the GC32, and is the perfect training platform to launch the careers of these young sailors.

The first intake into the Academy will see a squad of 12 sailors competing in the Extreme Sailing Series. Chosen from an on-going selection policy, the Academy sailors will have all their regatta costs paid for, with access to the expertise and facilities at the home of Land Rover BAR, including workshops with the senior sailing team.

The mentoring and support team will include Land Rover BAR Sailing Team Manager and three times America's Cup winner Jonathan 'Jono' Macbeth. Macbeth commented: "The Extreme Sailing Series will provide a great opportunity to trial sailors in the Academy. This will be the first step to building a team for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup in 2017. The longer-term aim is to mentor young British sailing talent and build the next generation of British America's Cup sailors."

The project manager will be Rob Andrews, London 2012 Olympic Sailing/Venue Manager, and a former RYA Olympic coach. The new Academy's coach will be Andrew Walsh, a former Extreme Sailing Series and Olympic multihull sailor and coach. Land Rover BAR sailor and three-time winner of the Series, Leigh McMillan will lead the team into the first two events to help develop their skills at the helm of these high-performance boats.

Jono Macbeth commented: "I got my break into professional sailing through a chance meeting with Sir Peter Blake in the kayak shop that I was working in, while paying my way through college. It's vital that we don't leave the future of young sailors to such chance, and provide a proper pathway into the professional sport."

Team Principal and Skipper, Ben Ainslie, said: "At Land Rover BAR we believe in investing in the next generation. We want to nurture home grown talent to ensure a lasting legacy and sustainable future as we aim to bring the Cup home to Britain. We're looking for talented, fit and committed people."

Mark Cameron, Jaguar Land Rover Experiential Marketing Director said: "We are thrilled to announce our support of the Land Rover BAR Youth Academy and to further our commitment to creating a sustainable pathway to bring the America's Cup back to its origin. Combined with our work with the Jaguar Land Rover Academy of Sport and Title and Exclusive Innovation Partnership with Land Rover BAR we hope that Land Rover is helping to pave the way to building a permanent presence for Britain in the high performance sailing arena."

Applicants will need to be between 19 and 24 on the 31st December 2017, and they can start their journey by submitting an application form at

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