Sir Keith Mills looks ahead to Cowes week

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The Independent Online

Tottenham Hotspur director Sir Keith Mills hopes to kick off a new phase in his bid to win the America's Cup when his Team Origin takes on the San Francisco-based holder, BMW-Oracle, in Cowes next week.

Sir Keith, who is also deputy chairman of the London Olympics organisation, has issued an individual challenge to Oracle for a series of races on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday plus a re-run of the 1851 race around the Isle of Wight which spawned the event 159 years ago.

Backing him is the artistry of Garrard, the jeweller which fashioned the original trophy, and the punch of the car maker Jaguar.

Garrard has come up with a new trophy, the 1851 Cup, which it has presented to the Royal Thames Yacht Club, while Jaguar is taking to the water with cat-like caution.

Jaguar UK managing director Geoff Cousins said the partnership is "a really natural fit", added that this was not a one-night stand and said that it was more like the first in a series of dates.

Whether that turns into something long term remains to be seen His dilemma is the same as those like him across the rest of the America's Cup community, which is waiting, increasingly impatiently, for major decisions from Oracle on the date, venue and style of boat for the next event.

The support for sailing will also slot into the recently-established Jaguar Academy of Sport, though, with Origin skipper Ben Ainslie already the holder of four Olympic medals, three of them gold, and his tactician Iain Percy a double gold medallist, this would not fit into the academy's aim of supporting emerging talent.

But it will link with the company's hope of developing 'greener' cars and, through that, Origin's existing partnership with the Carbon Trust.

Listen: Sir Keith Mills talks to Stuart Alexander:





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