Southampton apprentices to build sustainable boat for Ben Ainslie Racing
Ben Ainslie Racing announced a new project with City College Southampton to build two specialised docking ribs. The boats will be built by apprentices trained by the college under the supervision of Darren Patten at the College’s Marine Skills Centre.
The boats will be built by apprentices trained by the college
The docking rib has been developed from those used at the 34th America’s Cup to help berth the huge, foiling multihulls. The ribs have a highly innovative design, powered by a centrally positioned outboard that can be rotated through 360 degrees to push the boat in any direction. This makes them very manoeuvrable, an important asset when they are used to move the AC45 and AC62 America’s Cup boats into their berths.
The apprentices work for local marine companies and attend the college one day a week
The team has researched the most sustainable materials from which to manufacture the boats, supported by BAR’s sustainability partner 11th Hour Racing. A mixture of materials have been explored that have a lower environmental impact than traditional resins and fibres, researching their overall impact in terms of strength and environmental footprint. The team is working with the college on natural materials such as flax (a plant material that has been used in marine applications for thousands of years), epoxy bonding resins with high biomass content (50+%), and a recyclable PET core material that comes from plastic bottles.
The two docking ribs are due for delivery to BAR in May 2015
The project will provide an opportunity to assess these more sustainable materials. The students are already taught to monitor the different material and wastage quantities as part of their curriculum – driving efficiency in the construction process, an important component of sustainability.
The students working on the ribs are mostly Level 2 and Level 3 apprentice boat builders and engineers, studying for City and Guilds qualifications. Many of them work for local marine companies and attend the college one day a week. The college’s Marine lecturer, Darren Patten will manage his rotating workforce so the highest possible number of students will have the opportunity to work on the project, and be part BAR’s challenge for the 35th America’s Cup.
Every student will have the opportunity for exposure to each of the speciality skills involved in the production; from the building of the mould, through the composite construction, fairing and painting, and finally the fit out of engines, tubes and electronics. BAR will be responsible for the materials, and the boats will be built with support partners Yamaha, who will provide the engines.
The construction commenced at the beginning of the spring term, and the boats are due for delivery in May 2015 – so the timeline is tight. BAR’s Shore Manager, James Stagg commented, “We’re really pleased that City College Southampton have joined us in this project. We need these docking ribs before we commence sailing operations at the new HQ in Portsmouth this summer, but it’s great to do it in such a way that it will give these young apprentices workplace experience with a project that they own.”
Sarah Stannard, Principal of City College Southampton said “We are delighted that our Marine Skills Centre team of staff and students will be working with Ben Ainslie Racing to build the docking ribs. This project is an exciting opportunity for our students to work on a world-class project and to make a contribution to the BAR team’s objective of bringing the America’s Cup home to the UK.”
About Ben Ainslie Racing
Sarah Alexander, Ben Ainslie Racing Press Officer
Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) was launched on June 10th 2014 in the presence of the Duchess of Cambridge. The team was conceived by four times Olympic gold medalist and 34th America’s Cup winner, Sir Ben Ainslie, with the long-term aim of challenging for Britain and bringing the America’s Cup back home to where it all began in 1851. Ben will develop and lead a British entry capable of winning the prestigious trophy, something Britain has so far never managed to achieve.
BAR is a commercial sporting team, with a number of individual private investors alongside corporate partners. The team is made up of some of the best British and international sailors, designers, builders and racing support.
About Royal Yacht Squadron Racing Ltd
Royal Yacht Squadron Racing Ltd is a club affiliated to the Royal Yacht Squadron and Ben Ainslie Racing will be their sailing team in the challenge for the 35th America’s Cup. Founded in 1815, the Royal Yacht Squadron is regarded as one of the most prestigious yacht clubs in the world. Its clubhouse is located in Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom. The Squadron’s patron is Queen Elizabeth II and the Squadron’s Admiral is Prince Philip.
About City College
City College Southampton is a further education college in Hampshire which provides excellent career-led training and academic education for young people, adults, apprentices and businesses.
It offers a wide range of vocational and academic courses right up to higher education level.
Listed as ‘good’ by Ofsted, with some outstanding features, the college has invested heavily in facilities with a £48m redevelopment in recent years. Facilities include:
· A professional 240-seat theatre
· TV and media suites complete with HD cameras, green screens and the very latest industry equipment
· Working restaurant ‘Aspire’ which is open to the public
· Kudos hair and beauty salons
· The Marine Skills Centre based in Woolston
· Brand new engineering workshops and labs