Land Rover BAR Academy skipper Neil Hunter promoted to senior team

The Land Rover BAR Academy head out to Sydney for the finale of the Extreme Sailing Series™ – running from the 8th to 11th December – boosted by the news that skipper Neil Hunter (21 years old) will be joining the senior Land Rover BAR team in Bermuda, as they train for the 35th America’s Cup. Hunter got the call up a few weeks ago and will be flying out to the Cup venue in the New Year.

“A week after the Academy fitness test Jono Macbeth (Land Rover BAR Sailing Team Manager) asked me to come in and do another fitness test. I was then asked to join Ben Ainslie and the team for a few days of sailing in the Solent at the end of October. A week after that, Jono called me and offered me a place in the America’s Cup sailing team, which obviously was massive and I’m still stoked about it now, to be honest. Fitness is a huge part of it, and I’ve put a huge amount of work into that, but it’s also just being generally hard working,” said Neil Hunter.

Land Rover BAR skipper & Principal Sir Ben Ainslie hands Neil Hunter his senior shirt. Photo: Land Rover BAR / Harry KH

Jono Macbeth commented, “There was a position available with the team and Neil is the perfect fit. He is hardworking, incredibly fit and willing to learn. We had a vision for this type of promotion to happen within the Land Rover BAR Academy, but none of us expected it to happen this quickly. Neil can be a great asset for the team, not just this time round but also into the future. We plan to make more promotions, to create a new pathway into the America’s Cup . The sailing team are proud of the shirts they wear, the numbers they carry, and they can be proud when guys like Neil step up and make one their own.”

The Sydney Extreme Sailing Series event will take place on Sydney Harbour in foiling GC32’s. Over-looked by the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House, it’s one of the most recognisable and best venues on the eight event tour. Eight teams will compete in the finale, and while some just have pride at stake, Alinghi, Oman Air and Red Bull Sailing Team will contest the title separated by just six points as racing commences.

Read more: Land Rover BAR Academy select their first female sailor in Annabel Vose

The Land Rover BAR Academy currently sit in fifth place, and while a podium finish to the season is now beyond them, this is still a remarkable achievement for their rookie year on the Tour.

Land Rover BAR Academy GC32 foiling catamaran racing during the Extreme Sailing Series 2016. - Muscat - Oman
© Lloyd Images
2016 Lloyd Images

Land Rover BAR Academy Manager, Rob Andrews commented, “The Land Rover BAR Academy is not even a year old, but the Sydney event marks the end of our first full season of competition. We have made great progress towards our initial goal of winning races, and ultimately winning events. We are set up for an exciting 2017, where the Land Rover BAR Academy boys and girls will compete not only in the 2017 Extreme Sailing Series but also the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.”

The seven-strong team will include Chris Taylor on the helm, with Will Alloway on the mainsheet and Rob Bunce as floater. Adam Kay, Sam Batten and Oli Greber will all be rotating as headsail trimmer.


Land Rover BAR Academy Team line up:

Skipper/Bowman: Neil Hunter

Helm: Chris Taylor

Mainsail Trimmer: Will Alloway

Headsail Trimmer: Sam Batten /Oli Greber/Adam Kay

Floater: Rob Bunce

Extreme Sailing Series™ 2016 overall results

Position / Team / Points

1 Oman Air (OMA) 79 points

2 Alinghi (SUI) 77 points

3 Red Bull Sailing Team (AUT) 73 points

4 SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN) 61 points

5 Land Rover BAR Academy (GBR) 54 points

6 Visit Madeira (POR) 49 points

7 CHINA One (CHN) 29 points

8 Team Turx (TUR) 11points