Sir Ben Ainslie’s Ineos Team UK are getting back to training on the Solent this week.
Since returning from the cancelled ACWS event in Cagliari, Sardinia, the team HQ in Old Portsmouth has been in coronavirus lockdown.
Ainslie told local Portsmouth newspaper ‘The News‘ that a ‘backlog’ of testing has built up – but he was determined to plough through it.
With professional athletes now allowed to start training together from Monday (1 June) the crew of their first AC75, Britannia, was reduced to allow them to comply with distancing rules.
They have reduced the eleven man crew by replacing the hand cranked grinders with electrical powered grinders – normally two crew operate each of the grinders.
Recently the Italian Luna Rossa team skipper Max Sirena confirmed that they had carried out test sailing in Cagliari with a reduced crew of only five sailors after fitting electric grinders.
Ainslie confirmed that they would be using heatmap measuring devices to ensure everyone stayed two metres apart.
The reduced crew team has been split 50-50 between the crew ‘trenches’ on either side of the hull, with minimum movement between them to maintain social distancing.
Construction of the second Ineos AC75 hull continues at Carrigton Boats in Hythe, Hampshire, with 40 people working a double-shift arrangement, plus a team working at the Portsmouth base.
On its return from Sardinia, Britannia was sporting a new skeg attached to the underside of the hull. It is not known if this has been retained for the latest on-water sailing.
INEOS Team UK chief executive Grant Simmer had earlier indicated that there could be a considerable change to the hull of the second Ineos AC75!
Header Image from video by Proud of Portsmouth @PortsmouthProud as Britannia returns to the Solent on Monday 1 June 2020.