Ben Ainslie becomes majority owner of British SailGP team

United Kingdom
13th October 2021

Ben Ainslie becomes majority owner of British SailGP team

Ben Ainslie, the Olympic gold medal and America’s Cup winner, has become the majority owner of the Great Britain SailGP team.

The British team becomes the first to be taken under third-party ownership, a long-term objective of SailGP. As a condition of his entry into the series, Ainslie secured an option to take ownership of the franchise if its running costs and liabilities were covered in full. This was made possible with an investment from Chris Bake, a keen sailor and director at energy trading group Vitol.

Oracle Racing, Larry Ellison’s yacht racing syndicate and SailGP’s main backer, retains a minority equity stake.

The investment was driven by the greater commercial opportunities in a majority ownership, together with SailGP’s sustainability and pathway programmes. With the series aiming to be ‘100 per cent powered by nature, both on and off the water’ by 2025, Ainslie sees the sustainability message as a key selling point to potential partners.

In the official announcement regarding the acquisition, Ainslie commented:

Bake has previously backed other sailing ventures, including Ainslie’s 35th America’s Cup campaign and 44Cup team Team Aqua, in a yachting racing class inspired and co-designed by Sir Russell Coutts, CEO of SailGP.

Bake’s interest in sailing and sustainability led him to create the Global Sustainability Leadership Institute at the University of Texas. One of the first projects Bake will work with SailGP on is biofuel solutions to support the transition for the league and teams’ logistics, operations and broadcast.

He commented:

Coutts is equally as intent on the SailGP team forging ahead in the sustainability market.

He continued:

Two more third-party owned teams will be joining SailGP for its third season next year. A Swiss team, backed by Lundin Energy, was announced last month, while earlier in the year insulation manufacturer Rockwool confirmed it was taking on the operational brief for the Danish team.

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