INEOS Team UK have revealed they are barely sailing their first AC75 America's Cup boat 'Britannia' and have switched focus to their second boat which is nearing completion in Portsmouth.
The British America's Cup syndicate which is headed by decorated Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie plans to be sailing in Auckland by early October.
The syndicate's CEO Grant Simmer has told NZME they are only sailing 'Britannia' once or twice a week during the British summer.
"We are not trying to sail every day, we are doing quite a lot of development on some of the systems on the boat but we are in the late stages of building our second boat."
Like the other syndicates it's the second boat that INEOS Team UK hopes will eventually challenge Team New Zealand for the Auld Mug next March.
Simmer explained they didn't have much time to develop the first boat after the class rule was announced in April 2018.
"We were into building a boat four or five months and we didn't have a lot of time to analyse the class rule. A foiling monohull is quite a unique configuration so it took us a while to understand what we were building and clearly think then we have learned a lot. So the design machine, the tools we have got for analysing all of that has been maturing and hence the second boat is taking a different shape from the first boat."
Rivals American Magic are now ensconced in Auckland and sailed for the first time on the Waitemata Harbour on Monday. But Simmer isn't looking at the New York Yacht Club's entry with any envy.
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"No because we did consider doing that but we stuck with our programme and what worked out really well for us is the Covid restrictions as much as we respected that and looked after the team it hasn't impacted our programme as much as we feared. So we are sticking to the programme we have had for more than a year now."
That programme is seeing a number of the team's more than 100 personnel relocate to Auckland to help with logistics in setting up the team's base with the sailing crew staying in Portsmouth for the next month or so.
"We are all in one place sailing when we need to here and focused on the new boat and the reason we are not sailing everyday here is because we really need a focus on the second boat."
Like American Magic CEO Terry Hutchinson, Simmer played a dead bat to questions around whether the second American entry Stars + Stripes should be allowed to enter the Prada Cup using Emirates Team New Zealand's first boat Te Aihe.
"I can't comment on it, the arbitration panel has asked all the teams not to comment while it's in front of them and while they have a hearing on. So we can't really comment. It will get resolved over the next couple of weeks, a maximum of a month and the ruling will be public once it's determined."