The Ocean Race, based in Alicante, Spain, is providing a measure of help to local health care providers who are stretched to capacity caring for patients with COVID-19.
The technology team at the Race, who more typically spend their time developing the systems that bring media off the boats, have re-purposed the office 3D printer, normally used to build custom mounts and brackets for media equipment, to manufacture protective face shield masks that are now in short supply in local facilities.
The hospital in Elda, located 40 km inland from race headquarters in Alicante, has been particularly hard hit, as many local shoe manufacturing companies had representatives attend a trade fair in Northern Italy just before the health crisis erupted.
Authorities believe this has contributed to a localised outbreak in COVID-19 cases.
Over the past days, using a design shared on the internet, Technology Director Samuel Piñeiro, has been running the Race’s 3D printer 24-hours a day in a spare room in his house, producing protective shields to help ease an overburdened system.
“We all know how acute the crisis is here in Spain,” Piñeiro said. “This is one, small, concrete thing we can do, with the tools we have, to provide some help.”
On Monday, The Ocean Race provided an initial batch of 18 face shields to health care workers. Using a slightly modified design, a further 14 masks should be available on Thursday.
Similarly, Iker Martinez, a veteran of The Ocean Race in 2011-12 and 2014-15, has been spending his time in ‘self-isolation’ sewing masks for health care workers from his home in Palma de Mallorca.
“I know I can’t do it as fast as the professionals, but there are not enough masks and I can help a little bit,” he told Spanish newspaper Marca this weekend.
His attitude is one shared across the country as citizens band together to contribute.
The crisis in Spain has touched all corners of the country.
Latest figure indicate over 100,000 coronavirus cases and 9,053 deaths.
With its headquarters in Alicante, The Ocean Race is committed to helping in any way possible. We are eternally grateful to the doctors, nurses, carers and all other essential workers who put themselves at risk every day to help all of us through these challenging times.