Watch: Land Rover BAR test new life jacket and talk kit development

5 May 2016 • Written by Zoe Dickens

As teams gear up for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in New York this weekend, Land Rover BAR has released a video giving a little insight into the hard work going on behind the scenes at its Portsmouth headquarters.

Alongside the launch of its third testing boat, T3, in April, the team has been applying its cutting edge technology to every aspect of racing performance – including the Henri Lloyd-designed kit.

“At the speed we’re now travelling in the new age of the America’s Cup aerodynamics is a much more important factor,” explains Bleddyn Mon, aerodynamicist and sailor at Land Rover BAR.

“Drag is our enemy and the faster we fly the more drag we have. As members of the crew we have a significant impact on the drag of the boat which is why we’re looking at aerodynamic performance gains we can get from our kit.”

A key part of this was to streamline what is often the bulkiest art of a sailor’s gear – the life jacket. To do this, Land Rover BAR worked with Spinlock and Henri Lloyd to create the BAR T2 Personal Floatation Device. This cutting edge jacket reduces bulk by containing the minimum amount of foam required by race rules while its aerodynamics are improved with rash vest material welded on the exterior to eliminate air gaps and reduce drag. In addition to this the jacket contains pockets and recesses for the other equipment sailor’s must carry thus maintaining a low profile and aerodynamic design.

To make sure the new jacket was up to scratch team members Matt Cornwell and Leigh McMillan braved the Jaguar Land Rover wind tunnel – normally used for automotive research – to see what aerodynamic advances the new kit had achieved.

“It’s similar to the cycling teams where they are crucially interested in the texture and fit of the clothing,” commented Land Rover Bar’s chief technology officer Andy Claughton.

“It’s very useful to do real testing on real athletes in real wind. The partnership with Land Rover lets us push far beyond the boundaries that we could imagine if we were just an America’s Cup team working in isolation.”

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