Sailors from Portsmouth’s top racing team are finally back on the water.
Ineos Team UK, captained by Sir Ben Ainslie, is implementing a number of social distancing measures, such as new cleaning protocols and reducing the number of crew members on board the vessel, according to the Portsmouth News.
Chief among the team’s new social distancing measures is a heatmap for every sailor, to ensure everyone stays two metres apart, alongside an electrical grinder to replace two of the crew members.
With two trenches in the sailboat, the team will be split 50-50 between the starboard and port sides of the vessel.
“Sometimes a couple of us move from side-to-side, so we still have to figure that out in terms of social distancing,” Sir Ben Ainslie told the Portsmouth News. “For us, much like other industries, it has become an everyday focus.
“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.”
Due to the halt in testing in Sardinia, Ainslie says the team has a ‘backlog’ to complete.
“There’s an awful lot of work to do. Because of that, we’re all very keen to get back out onto the water.
“But there’s a lot to consider and communication is key – we’re in constant talks with the Queen’s Harbour Master, lifeboat crews and coastguard, so that they all know where we are and what we’re going to do,” Ainslie told the Portsmouth News.
“In the grand scheme of things there are people doing more important things, such as the heroes on the front line of the NHS – but we still can’t wait to go back to racing.”