Ben Ainslie and crew set sail in their bid to win America's Cup

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Sally Simmonds

Ben Ainslie and his crew have set sail in their bid to win the America's Cup being held in New Zealand.

In the last two months, the waters off of Portsmouth have seen a black hull chalking up astonishing speeds as Ineos Team UK have been making up for lost time in lockdown.

This new class, a 75-foot foiling monohull is sailing as you've never seen, where the learning curve is vertical at 80 kilometres an hour.

Watch: Ben Ainslie says boats are 'on a knife edge', and rowing champion Matt Gotrel describes being on the 'edge of your seat' while reaching top speeds

Ben Ainslie says: "These boats are really hard to sail, they're on a knife edge, and they can pitchpole, and they can wipe out."

The change of the design and cost means there are only three challengers in the America's Cup - the Brits, Americans and the Italians.

The winner of these three will take on New Zealand next March.

No team has raced against another yet, but the spies are out, says Ben.

He says: "We have team members out wherever the other teams are sailing, trying to monitor, gauge their performance. Kind of spying, observing, but we won't really know until we line up in Auckland."

Of the 11 crew, most are tucked down in a cockpit, blind to the scenery.

The only race ahead of the cup including all four teams is in December.

Olympic champion Ben Ainslie can certainly win a sailing race - but for the America's Cup, the design will have to be spot on too.