This week, after over three months shore-bound, Ben Ainslie and Ineos Team UK were back on the water with the modified Britannia (RB1).
For the first time RB1 was seen sailing on the Solent with the addition of the skeg/bustle they fitted in Sardinia while training for the cancelled ACWS event.
The skeg/bustle riplicates the bustle hull shape of the Italian and Kiwi hulls, and seems likely to be a clue to the hull shape of RB2, presently in build at Carringtons, in Hythe, Hampshire.
Ainslie has admitted that Britannia has been fitted with a lot of development items that are coming through that will eventually get onto the second boat, RB2.
In addition, they have placed an e-grinder on the boat. Effectively a large battery pack which reduces the requirement of the number of crew on the boat.
This enables them to space out as much as possible whilst still being able to fully operate and sail the boat.
They also use social distancing devices from a company called Mafic, wearables that can identify any hotspots where people are getting close to the two-metre social distancing barrier.
Finally, it’s all about getting to New Zealand, and that does finally seem to be on the move, with reports of action to allow the AC36 teams an exemption to the border restriction.
New Zealand Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford told MPs on Wednesday that he hadn’t yet received applications from the America’s Cup teams for exemptions
Officials from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment were working with challenger teams on their applications, but he said he expected to receive them “quite soon”.
He said the Government wanted to see the America’s Cup go ahead.
“I think it will be great for the economy and for New Zealand.”