ORACLE TEAM USA will take to the historic waters of the Solent on Saturday in the first races of the 35th America's Cup. It was here, nearly 165 years ago, that the yacht America won a race around the Isle of Wight to win the trophy we now call the America's Cup.
But that history won't be front of mind when the starting gun fires on the first race of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Portsmouth on Saturday afternoon.
Five challengers are determined to unseat ORACLE TEAM USA as the defending champion of the oldest trophy in international sport, and skipper Jimmy Spithill says his team has a monumental task in facing up to the challenge.
"It's been a long time since we raced," said Spithill. "I don't think there's any question that this is a very strong group of teams. But that just serves as motivation. We want to compete against the best."
The racing this weekend will determine a champion for the Portsmouth event. But points are carried forward throughout the two year Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series, and the overall Series winner is in a favoured position to gain bonus points for racing in 2017.
"This all goes towards the final score for a potential bonus point in the America's Cup, so there's a lot on the line. We'd like to get off on the right foot and post a good result."
It won't be easy. Apart from the competition from five top challengers, there is a new boat to learn in the foiling AC45.
"We've already seen in training how easy it is to get it wrong," Spithill said, referring to several near misses, when the boat comes off its foils and crashes into the water.
"We've had a big nosedive and Tom Slingsby took a big hit. Kinley (Fowler) has taken a knock on the head."
"This is really back to grass roots sailing," said Fowler. "It's a lot more physical on these boats with a lot more choreography going on with the crew. The learning curve is huge. We've been makeing plenty of mistakes, but we're getting better."
The team begins to face up to the challenge with race one scheduled to start at 1340 local time in Portsmouth on Saturday. Four races are scheduled in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Portsmouth, with two races each on Saturday and Sunday.