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America's Cup: INEOS Team UK sails Britannia again on Solent

by David George, The News, Portsmouth 2 Jun 10:27 BST 2 June 2020
INEOS Team UK has resumed training in the Solent © Lloyd Images

Ineos Team UK, skippered by Sir Ben Ainslie, is gearing up to take part in the 2021 America's Cup being and has restarted their sailing program on the Solent.

Although many of this year’s events have been cancelled due to coronavirus, preparations are well and truly under way – and today, the team will be entering Solent waters in their new racing yacht for the first time.

To get back into training, the team has implemented a number of social distancing measures, such as new cleaning protocols and reducing the number of crew members on board the vessel.

Prior to lockdown, the team was in Sardinia for a shakedown of the new AC75 – a 75ft sailboat to fit new regulations for the 36th America’s Cup.

Sir Ben said: ‘It’s been a difficult period for all of us.

‘We were in Sardinia at the end of February and were meant to have a race there in early April; that was obviously cancelled and we had to get home as quickly as possible.

‘Ineos were amazing in getting everyone back home, it was a huge weight off our shoulders.’

Once they got back to England, the sailors started training from home, with engineers and designers also working from their homes.

On the construction side, a second boat was still being built in Hythe, Scotland, and the Portsmouth base became a manufacturing hub for personal protective equipment (PPE).

Due to the halt in testing caused by coronavirus, Sir Ben says the team has a ‘backlog’ of testing to complete – but is determined to plough through it in their bid to bring the America’s Cup to Portsmouth.

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