Riding Along with the Land Rover BAR Academy

When I was invited by Land Rover to check out the Extream Sailing Series in San Diego, I didn't really know what to expect. I have seen the America's Cup race on television and I have sailed on a small sailboat in the past, but I had no idea how big the sport of competitive sailing really was until I arrived at Harbor Island Park.

Land Rover is the official vehicle of the Extreme Sailing Series. Land Rover is also the primary sponsor of Sir Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR Academy team and a partner of the Red Bull Extreme Sailing Team led by double Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher. So everywhere you turn you run in a Land Rover or a Land Rover logo.

I had a chance to sit down with Sir Ben Ainslie, multiple Olympic Medal winner, America's Cup Champion, and founder of the Land Rover BAR Academy. In our candid conversation, Ainslie's passion for the sport of sailing was clear as was his mission to build a team that will bring the America's Cup home to the UK. He is making good headway too, earlier this year his Land Rover BAR Academy team won the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in Bermuda. The academy is focused on developing young sailors to not only compete in the Extreme Sailing Series and Youth America's Cup but to graduate sailors to compete for the America's Cup under the BAR banner. 

Racing started at around 1PM once the winds had picked up and I was offered the chance of a lifetime to ride along with the team during a race but to make even more special Sir Ainslie himself would be at the helm. I, of course, said yes and was taken to get suited up and fitted with a helmet and lifejacket. Slightly more waterproof, I grabbed my GoPro and headed out to meet the race boat in the bay.

Like motorsports, you really don't understand how fast everything is happening when you're watching it on TV or from the stands. The amount of athletic skill, speed, and communication it takes is incredible to witness up close and gives you an appreciation for the sport. Our race ended with a neck-and-neck drag race to the finish with our Land Rover team winning by just a few feet. It was an amazing experience and a beautiful day to be on the water.

 After San Diego, the teams are headed to Cabo San Lucas Mexico for the final race of the season, four competitors are within striking distance of the championship including the Land Rover BAR Academy team. For more on the series visit the Extream Sailing Series website HERE.