The British team INEOS, under the command of four-time Olympic champion Sir Ben Ainslie, challenging at the 36th America's Cup in Auckland (New Zealand), has returned to training in the waters of its base in Portsmouth (New Kingdom).
After more than two months of separation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ainslie has recovered the team members to organize the return tasks and the team's AC75, the 'Brittania', is already sailing in El Solent waters.
The team includes the Spaniards Xavi Fernández, world and Olympic champion and member of the crew; Joan Vila, considered the best navigator in the world and responsible for meteorology and computer processes; and Fernando Sales, 'rigger' (responsible for technical elements).
To return to training, the team has implemented a series of social distancing measures, such as new cleaning protocols and reducing the number of crew members on board the ship.
The start of the pandemic in Italy surprised the team in Sardinia, where it had been since February. The cancellation of the first round of the Copa América World Series to be held there forced him to return to his base in Southampton.
Once they returned to England, the sailors began training from home, as did engineers and designers, who also worked from home.
The team's second AC75 was being built at Carrigton Boats in Hythe, Hampshire, 170 km away. Portsmouth, with 40 people working double shifts, plus a team working at the Portsmouth base.
The Portsmouth base, during confinement, became a manufacturing center for personal protective equipment (PPE) for English toilets.
Due to this disruption the team says it has a backlog of evidence to complete. "But now there are many things to consider and communication is key. We are in constant talks with the port captain, the lifeboat crews and the coastguards, so that everyone knows where we are and what we are going to do. "has indicated the pattern of the team.
The main of the new measures of social distancing of the team is a warning system for each sailor, to guarantee that everyone stays two meters away, along with an electric pedestal to replace the two 'grinders 'crew members.
With the reduction of the crew from eleven to nine members, the crew on deck will divide 50-50 between the starboard and port sides of the ship.
"Sometimes, some of us move from side to side, so we still have to solve that in terms of social distancing, but we can no longer wait to compete again" Ainsle has said.
The British team is now awaiting the immigration waiver process so that the Copa América teams can enter New Zealand.
Both British and American INEOS American Magic have expressed concern about bringing their teams to New Zealand in time for the Cup preparations in Auckland, as the coronavirus pandemic puts tight control on country borders for foreigners.
New Zealand Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has advanced that Parliament is already carrying out a process in this regard this week. "I am sure that the process that has been implemented and discussed with the teams will be applied properly", has said.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has gone further, commenting, "I think the government will make a decision soon to allow the crews to be here."