The Royal Yacht Squadron is arguably the most prestigious yacht club in the world. Its clubhouse in Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight, designed by Sir Thomas Croft, is full of mahogany furniture and old paintings and some of its members look as if they might just have been around when the inaugural Cup – then just a race around the Island for a 100-sovereign Cup – was held way back in 1851 – writes Tom Cary in The Telegraph.
One can only imagine their faces when Sir Jim Ratcliffe – the son of a joiner and an office worker, who grew up on a council estate in Failsworth, Greater Manchester, and is now Britain’s wealthiest man with a fortune estimated at somewhere north of £21 billion – was inaugurated into the club during Cowes Week last month.
Ratcliffe, who has taken over Sir Ben Ainslie’s Portsmouth-based America’s Cup team and renamed it Ineos Team UK after his petro-chemicals company, performed a “fly-by” on a GC32 foiling catamaran. “It was a little like that scene in Top Gun,” he recalls, chuckling. “Rattling tea cups in the control tower. The members were all looking a bit alarmed as we flew past them at about 35 knots, on the foil.”
The hope, at least from a British perspective, is that it is Ainslie’s rivals who have been rattled by the arrival of someone with serious, serious wealth.
This is a man who reportedly had a bid of £2 billion for Chelsea Football Club knocked back by Roman Abramovich this summer; whose decision to relocate to Monaco this year was front-page news. Ratcliffe is the 29th-richest man in the world.
His arrival on the scene was not without controversy in the sport of sailing.
Read on at: The Telegraph