• Ben's Perspective On The Covid 19 Virus

    Ben Ainslie proud America's Cup designers working on coronavirus ventilators

    My desk in my study on the Isle of Wight looks straight out onto the sea. Usually I find sitting here, watching life go by on the open waves, the most calming place in the world. But today it is eerily quiet. Not a sight or a sound.

    Under normal circumstances, different circumstances, we would be grateful for such peace and quiet. But there is nothing peaceful about this. Most of us have never experienced anything like these times and it is gruelling to see the challenges that so many people are facing.

    As an America's Cup team we have had to make some difficult decisions. But frankly these pale into insignificance when you think of the hardship and loss so many people around the globe are going through, or are about to go through. In sport we talk a lot about preparedness. One of my favourite quotes is that "luck is preparation looking for an opportunity".

    I am sure once this crisis is over there will be a lot of talk about the decisions that were made and how governments reacted.

    British yachting great Sir Ben Ainslie at the wheel of his INEOS Team UK' new America's Cup boat.

    One thing is clear, generally speaking none of us have been as prepared as we should have been for something like this. And I mean from governments, to local authorities, to business and finally individuals. I hope that on the back of Covid-19 we can objectively look at the lessons and be better placed to react to the next pandemic, which we know will come.

    We should be putting our first race boat, Britannia, through her paces on the Italian coast and mulling over race configurations for the first event of the America's Cup World Series, which was due next month.

    Just three weeks ago we took the decision to get our team home. Well, as many as we could. A few brave and brilliant team players stayed behind to pack up the boat and the base. It had become increasingly clear we needed to get our whole operation back to the UK when what we were seeing with our own eyes in Italy threatened to reveal the full scale of the outbreak.

    As they say, every cloud has a silver lining and for me it has undoubtedly been spending more time with my family. I have a three-year-old daughter, Bellatrix, who I have seen for only five days in the past two and a half months. My wife, Georgie, unfortunately had to self-isolate last week and so daddy day care had to kick in hard.

    Emirates Team New Zealand's Grant Dalton and Peter Burling with Max Sirena of Luna Rossa, Sir Ben Ainslie of INEOS Team UK and Terry Hutchinson of American Magic at the America's Cup launch in Cowes, England.

    The time with Bellatrix has been magical and of course she has really no idea why all of us adults are acting so strangely and spending an inordinate amount of time talking about the availability of loo roll!

    Keeping in touch with the team, who are now mostly back with their families all over the world, is a challenge. But we are all learning to get the best out of Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom. Even my elderly mother, who bless her, until recently could not even work a mobile phone, has managed to get to grips with FaceTime. This crisis is teaching us that there are new and efficient ways of communicating and that can't be a bad thing.

    When times are hard, sport has the ability to lift people and distract them from their challenges. Sadly, we are not able to deliver on this occasion and it is a shame to see sporting events around the world, including our own America's Cup World Series, cancelled. However, it is undoubtedly the right call and as sports teams we need to find other ways to try to have a positive impact on our communities.

    I cannot say enough about the manner in which Ineos Team UK have reacted. Of course, people need to be with their families, but their commitment to our cause is stronger than ever, as are their efforts to find innovative ways to overcome the challenges.

    Our design coordinator, Jonathan Nichols, and head of simulation James Roche have been heavily involved in a government-led project, in conjunction with Imperial College, to design new ventilators to help combat the shortage, and Ineos, our backer, is building three sites to manufacture hand sanitisers.

    This is being witnessed in different ways throughout the country and it is heartwarming to see communities, teams and businesses come together in this way.

    We will come through this and we will all be stronger for it. At times like these we all need a light at the end of the tunnel and for us that's the America's Cup.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Ben's Perspective On The Covid 19 Virus started by Photoboy View original post