Boat builder Jason Carrington and his team are nearing completion of the INEOS Team UKs second America’s Cup AC75.
In a recent interview with Tip and Shaft, Carrington explained that despite the coronavirus restrictions which had slowed things . . . “it’s better than nothing.”
After a couple of weeks of initial shut-down due to the government restrictions, Carrington Boats came back to work with a new tighter work environment.
With security guards on the doors to take deliveries, checking everyone’s temperature and putting on two shifts so that they had less people involved at any one time.
They run a two-shift system that starts at half-six to half past three in the afternoon, and then half-three through until two o’clock in the early hour of the morning.
The actual build only involves twenty people so feels quite spread out, and the only danger is people wanting to talk to each other.
In relation to the tight schedule Carrington admits, “It’s always a challenge, the schedules are always really tight on these boats. Fortunately, we were in pretty good shape before all this (covid-19) kicked off.”
“We have run a night shift from the start of the project so we have managed to get a big chunk ahead of where we thought we would be. We have obviously eaten into that a bit, but we are still okay.”
“The danger for us is if we were forced to stop. If we did stop for a certain amount of time, quite quickly it becomes just not feasible to even get the boat done in time, so we are pretty aware of that.”
But he concludes . . .“At the moment we’re on track.”
Ben Ainslie has indicated that both AC75 will go to New Zealand, most likely by air freight, as soon as the second boat is ready and initial testing is complete.
The restriction level in New Zealand is set to drop down from complete lockdown to Level 3, which will allow the Kiwi team to resume work on their second boat, and also allow work to restart on the INEOS team’s partially built base in Auckland.
Ideally Ainslie wants to get the British boats there for September, by which time the Alert level should be down to level 2 and allow sailing and boating activity to restart.
The NYYC American Magic team also expect to get both their AC75s out to Auckland by the end of September.
Luna Rossa’s second AC75 is believed to have continued construction in Bergamo through the strict Italian COVID-19 Lockdown, but no other news on the status is available.
New Zealand has not indicated when the restriction on entering New Zealand – requiring a 14-day stay at a Government facility – will be lifted, but assume that the teams would plan to work around that.
The INEOS team involvement in the SailGP Series is also a factor.
But with both San Francisco and New York already cancelled, this leaves just the Cowes Week event scheduled for 14 and 15 August, and the Copenhagen SailGP over 11 and 12 September.
While the two SailGP events will only ahead if restrictions on movement and gathering are lifted, they will apply even more pressure to sailors involved in both events, as well as the distraction of the rescheduling of Tokyo 2020 to July 2021.
With the first competitive AC75 races – Christmas Cup – due to take place in December in Auckland, there is not a lot of time for the teams to test and tune their new boats.
And Ben Ainslie has already indicated that he would prefer even the Christmas Cup event to be cancelled or postponed due to the tight time constaints.
This is then followed by the PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series from 15 January to 22 February 2021, and then the America’s Cup Match from 6 to 15 March 2021.