Please select your home edition
Edition app (top)

Spinlock kit INEOS Team UK out for battle

by INEOS Team UK 5 Nov 2019 06:37 GMT
The team flying past the Royal Yacht Squadron © Ralph Hewitt / INEOS TEAM UK

It's been a month since INEOS TEAM UK launched their first AC75 race boat, Britannia, a radical monohull that foils on wings. One of the most technical boats ever built, it needs to reach take-off speed as quickly as possible - across a range of wind speeds and angles - and pass through the air with the minimum of resistance.

The America's Cup boats are bigger, faster and more technical than ever so the specifications of the team's safety gear are critical. The athletes need to be kitted out with the best protective equipment and flotation technology whilst remaining aerodynamic with the ability to perform athletically at the highest level.

There's no 'off the shelf' aero body armour, it needs to be custom made and incorporate a range of factors - and for INEOS TEAM UK there was only one supplier to work with, Spinlock. The team have been working closely with Spinlock since 2014 and both sides have carried product learnings from AC35 to AC36.

The sailors still need to carry comms equipment, air supply and a personal safety knife, all need to be located on the PFD for efficiency, performance and comfort. Sweat-inducing bursts of activity mean breathability is also high on the list of requirements. The vests need to allow for hot air to escape quickly and efficiently from between the layers of foam surrounding the body. New materials and 'venting' will allow the sailors to perform knowing they are not going to 'overheat' during a race.

It's been constant development and Spinlock have been trialling different materials, choosing fabric for minimum weight and maximum sports performance. Spinlock have developed a new spine protector using 'Skydex', which is built into a greater area of the back panelling, giving body protection to the motorcycle crash protection standard and passing the 50N standard for flotation.

With the introduction of the AC75, the risk of capsize has increased, so harness technology has also been incorporated into the PFD. INEOS TEAM UK Grinder, Nick Hutton, is in charge of developing the critical safety gear for the crew, "We finished the AC35 with a great product we could move forward with Spinlock. For this next iteration, we have retained all the 'likes' of the previous model and developed them for our new AC75 PFD.

"Every little detail needs to be taken into consideration when developing our kit and we need to go into a training session or race knowing we have done everything we can to ensure the crew onboard are wearing the best safety equipment while also being comfortable and able to perform to their optimum."

Chris Hill, CEO of Spinlock, "Working with INEOS TEAM UK allows Spinlock to continue to push ourselves to develop new designs with new materials and new techniques, finding every small gain to help the team in their goal to win the AC36. As well as helping the team members perform better as athletes, we have also been able to share our knowledge and experience from the other areas of our business in both sail control and 'Sense' data monitoring to contribute to the operation and understanding of the new boats sailing loads."

Related Articles

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston takes flight on Britannia
First foil for the first person to sail single-handed non-stop around the globe Sir Ben Ainslie and the INEOS TEAM UK sailors take Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail single-handed non-stop around the globe in 1969 (312 days solo at sea!), for his first foil. Posted on 25 Jul
INEOS Team UK's Lead Systems Engineer Andy McLean
Andrew 'Animal' McLean is both a highly experienced inshore and offshore racer Andrew 'Animal' McLean is both a highly experienced inshore and offshore racer as well as a qualified mechanical engineer. He has a vast amount of experience, having competed for four America's Cups and in two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR). Posted on 9 Jul
David Carr describes the Britannia I deck layout
Some of what goes in to designing INEOS Team UK's AC75 It is mission-critical to maximise efficiency in the cockpit of Britannia both in aerodynamics and in creating the best performance positions for the crew. Posted on 25 Jun
INEOS TEAM UK partner with Mafic
To inform social distance policies with wearable technology devices With the America's Cup fast approaching and INEOS TEAM UK back on the water, the team has adapted their working protocols to ensure the safety of the team and the local community, including partnering with Mafic. Posted on 19 Jun
Revolutionising AC75 boat development process
INEOS TEAM UK and Coderus create game-changing new software INEOS TEAM UK and team software design partner Coderus have developed a game-changing new software that greatly improves the speed and accuracy with which innovation and design creativity can be handled in the boat design development process. Posted on 11 Jun
INEOS Team UK back out on the water
Britannia flying once again in the Solent After three months off the water due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Britannia is flying once again. The past few months have been a difficult time for the team, as it has been for everyone around the world. Posted on 6 Jun
INEOS Team UK Inside Tack Podcast episode 1
Navigating through COVID-19 Georgie Ainslie takes a look at how the team is navigating through COVID-19, from discussing how training plans and Cup preparations have been affected with Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott. Posted on 4 May
Video: Meet INEOS Team UK designer Ollie Pendleton
Moving Parts is an INEOS TEAM UK series looking at the work of different team members. Moving Parts is an INEOS TEAM UK series looking at the invaluable work of different members from across the team. This time we are looking at a member of the design team, Oliver ‘Ollie' Pendleton. Posted on 4 Apr
Meet INEOS TEAM UK Sailing Team Coach Rob Wilson
The role long-term Rob Wilson has been sailing most of his life, and competed against (and beat) Ben Ainslie during an Optimist World Championship in Japan when he was 12 years old. Posted on 2 Apr
INEOS TEAM UK Winter Training Camp
Making the days count in Cagliari! INEOS TEAM UK are in Cagliari, Italy for their Winter Training Camp and are making the most of their days on the water. Posted on 18 Feb