America's Cup: Pre-Flight Check

Getting an AC45 flying is no small task, and a crack shore team is essential to keeping a program on its foils.

Planes don't take off without pre-flight checks and neither do AC 45s. Getting the high-performance cats up and flying is no small task.

The sailors may get the glory, but the shore team that is responsible for the maintenance, upkeep and repair of the high tech catamarans are integral to keeping to program on its foils. At the Land Rover BAR base, a team of crack engineers, systems experts and sailors work non-stop to keep the boat in top shape.

The boat is broken down into individual pieces, and every member of the shore team has a different task, from boat maintenance to management. The composite interfaces, fairings, steering, sails and rigging are all overseen by separate team members to ensure that nothing is missed before a day of sailing.

“There are checks in the morning and checks in the evening before we leave. If there’s a problem it’s not necessarily the responsibility of that person to fix it, but it is the responsibility of that person to flag it to either me or the boat captain, and then we can bring in the design team or the engineering team and work through the process for repair," says Richy O'Farrel, who heads up the shore team for Land Rover BAR.

The AC 45 can't go in the water until both the boat maintenance crew and the systems team sign off to make sure everything from hydraulics to computer tracking is working correctly.