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America’s Cup challenger boat jets off from Essex airport

PUBLISHED: 16:30 29 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:30 29 September 2020

The INEOS TEAM UK America's Cup race boat being towed onto an Antonov cargo plane  Picture: MARK LLOYD

The INEOS TEAM UK America's Cup race boat being towed onto an Antonov cargo plane Picture: MARK LLOYD

Lloyd Images/INEOS TEAM UK

The British challenger in the America’s Cup boat race has jetted off from Stansted airport en route to Auckland in New Zealand.

The INEOS team UK America's Cup race boat being towed onto an Antonov cargo plane by the team's new  4x4 at the start of its journey to Auckland, New Zealand  Picture: MARK LLOYDThe INEOS team UK America's Cup race boat being towed onto an Antonov cargo plane by the team's new 4x4 at the start of its journey to Auckland, New Zealand Picture: MARK LLOYD

INEOS Britannia II headed off in one of the world’s largest aircraft – a four engine 1987 Ukrainian Antonov 124 cargo plane.

The 75ft race boat travels via Dubai, having arrived at the airport from Portsmouth.

It was towed on board using a new prototype INEOS Grenadier 4x4 to take off at 6.30pm on Monday, September 28.

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The INEOS team UK will be skippered by four time Olympic champion Sir Ben Ainslie – currently in quarantine in New Zealand – and they will be hoping to lift the sport’s oldest international trophy.

“We had to give ourselves maximum design and build time in the UK, which meant the Antonov was the only transport option. It’s testament to the huge effort by the whole team to get RB2 built and delivered to New Zealand on schedule,” he said.

Project director Dave Endean, who has overseen the build and transportation of RB2 to New Zealand, said it had been a “huge” operation.

“It was an important milestone to get our race boat on the Antonov cargo plane today and I, and the rest of our team left in the UK, can’t wait to join the team in New Zealand now and get sailing in the Auckland Harbour,” he said.


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