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14 November 2015


As Land Rover are Title partner for the new America’s Cup sailing team set up by Sir Ben Ainslie himself, the Land Rover BAR, our Rising Star athletes were given the opportunity to go behind the scenes at their headquarters in Portsmouth with ambassador and sailing legend Sarah Ayton.

Sir Ben Ainslie and his all-British team are bidding to bring the America’s Cup back to our waters for the first time since 1851 and the Academy’s sailing athletes were invited down to enjoy a tour of the impressive new facility, and take on some top tips from the Land Rover BAR team and fitness experts.

The athletes admitted the opportunity to meet Sir Ben Ainslie and Sarah Ayton and learn from the best in the business, opened their eyes to the hard work required to cut the mustard at the elite level.

James Calder, Balerno sailing sensation, said: “The Jaguar Land Rover Academy of Sport has given us a great experience to come down and see the Southampton boat show and then see the BAR headquarters. I’ve enjoyed all of it; coming down to see the team just before they launch, then getting all the info on the gym and the intensity they work at, and the time they put into refining their boats."

“It provides you with skills you need going into this career as a full time sailor, and gives you a bit of an extra feather in your cap. Ben Ainslie is phenomenal; he’s just about every young sailor’s idol. He’s a great athlete to aspire to be like, and to aim to achieve anything near what he has done.”

Sarah Norbury, 18-year old and her team mate Mari Davies were part of the exclusive visit, and Sarah said: “Today’s experience with Jaguar Land Rover was really good. Starting off with the Southampton Boat Show and then especially to be at Jaguar Land Rover headquarters with Ben Ainslie Racing. It’s been so fun to meet Ben Ainslie and having all the experts here to give us advice. It’s a really professional set up around here it’s really interesting to look around.

She added: “This has worked out really well timing-wise in terms of my campaign starting; it’s incredibly inspiring. Learning how to organise a campaign you just realise this is what it could look like and you could model it on this.”

After spending the summer sailing abroad, including competing in the 420 class Girls World Championships in Japan, Norbury and teammate Mari Davies now turn their attention to moving into the larger 470 boats that are used at the Olympic Games.

But with an intense winter of training around the corner, the starlet, Jamie Calder is hoping he may be able to make the jump up the men’s under-21 class ahead of time.

He added: “The last few months have been really exciting for my sailing, as I’ve become the European Champion, which was my main goal for the season. In terms of the path to reaching my Olympic goal, I’m happy with where I am just now and we’ll see in the years to come where it takes me.”

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