America's Cup 2021: Ben Ainslie's Ineos Team UK seeks to win Challenger Series final

The boats that fly: sailing as you have never seen it before
Prada Cup final
Venue: Auckland, New Zealand Dates: 13-22 February
Coverage: Watch live streaming of the first four races on BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button & the BBC Sport website and app.

Ben Ainslie's Ineos Team UK are into the final of the Challenger Series - which will determine who faces Team New Zealand for the America's Cup in March.

They face Italy's Luna Rossa in the Prada Cup final, a best-of-13 series starting on Saturday in Auckland - with the first four races live on the BBC.

The winners will take on holders Team New Zealand in the 36th America's Cup from 6-21 March.

Ineos Team UK is bidding to become the first British team to win the trophy.

Further races take place on 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 February, with a highlights programme on BBC Two on Wednesday, 24 February.

The story so far

Four-time Olympic champion Ainslie, a previous America's Cup winner with the United States team in 2013, is the skipper and driving force of the British boat.

The 44-year-old's team got off to a terrible start when, unable to use the hi-tech arms that allow the 75-foot monohull to "fly" above the water, they lost all six races in December's World Series.

But they bounced back in style following a series of technical updates, reaching speeds of more than 50 knots as they won all five of their races in the Challenger Series round-robin to secure their place in the final.

Jimmy Spithill's Luna Rossa had to go through an additional round of qualifying but beat the team from the United States 4-0 to secure their spot.

As the defending champions, Team New Zealand automatically get to compete in the America's Cup without having to qualify.

Ben Ainslie in Ineos' boat
Ben Ainslie's Ineos Team UK are based in Portsmouth

Ainslie faces former team-mate - what the skippers said

Spithill and Ainslie inspired a remarkable comeback when they were on the same side with Oracle Team USA at the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco.

At 8-1 down, they stormed back to claim a 9-8 victory against Team New Zealand and retain the Auld Mug.

"I've had a great relationship with Jimmy over many years now, both racing with one another and against one another," said Ainslie.

"He's a great competitor, a great sailor. There's a healthy respect between us and, for whatever reason, whenever we race against one another, it normally ends up being pretty exciting."

Spithill said his crew were battle hardened after their races against the Americans, and hoped that would give them the edge.

"The pressure we had to face internally, the entire team after that series going into this sort of sudden death, that's about as good a preparation as you can get," he said.

"Neither team will be underestimating each other and we'll be putting the hammer down."

Coverage times

All times are GMT and subject to change at late notice.

The Prada Cup

Saturday, 13 February

Races 1 & 2

03:00-05:00 - BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website

Sunday, 14 February

Races 3 & 4

03:00-05:00 - BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website

Wednesday, 24 February

Highlights of remaining races

16:30-17:15 - BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website

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