America’s Cup crew gets kitted out

Thursday November 7th, 2019

The team flying past the Royal Yacht Squadron (c) Ralph Hewitt/ INEOS TEAM UK

Built for the America’s Cup, the INEOS TEAM UK race boat, Britannia, is one of the most technical boats ever built.

Britannia is a radical monohull that foils on wings and unlike other boats is bigger, faster and more technical than ever.  The safety of the team’s athletes is critical and Spinlock are working with INEOS TEAM UK to kit the team with the best protective equipment.  The new kit uses 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.

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.

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.”  

INEOS TEAM UK 'Grinder', Nick Hutton (c) Lloyd images/ INEOS TEAM UK

INEOS TEAM UK ‘Grinder’, Nick Hutton (c) Lloyd images/ INEOS TEAM UK


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