52 Super Series against the COVID-19: doing their bit for the fight
Saturday, April 4, 2020 1:47 PM
(Saturday 4th April 2020, Spain) – Sailors and shore crew from the wider 52 Super Series family are putting their skills – and in many cases their hardware – to good use helping support the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. In Palma, Mallorca, and in Valencia, groups and individuals are engaged in making personal protective clothing and protective masks and visors.
Many of the Palma-based sailmakers such as Phoenix’s Mathieu Cassanas, Jordi Calafat from Platoon, Martin Winter of Quantum Racing and Provezza’s Gwenael Le Guen are helping make cloth gowns and masks in an initiative coordinated by Pablo Torrado from the Maxi72 Cannonball. Others, such as Gladiator’s Feargal Finlay and Azzurra’s Ross Hunter are making full use of 3D printers to manufacture plastic protective masks and visors.
These initiatives feed into a Balearic organisation IB Salut, which collects and distributes the much needed protective equipment.
“There is a messaging system that covers the whole of Spain, which I am a member of. There are common files that we work from to manufacture the different items and put them together. On the island here our work is coordinated by a 3D printing company who maintain an inventory of who is doing what and what materials are needed. When the things are picked up we receive new materials. I believe that within the islands here we have about 200 people operating 3D printers, from hobbyists and guys like myself who have a single machine that we would usually use to make replacement bits for the Gladiator, to some people maybe having four or five machines,” explains Feargal Finlay, Boat Captain to Gladiator. “My machine is running 24/7 and I can make between four to eight pieces a day depending on what it is. I think now I have done 20 face shields. I believe between the 200 guys and girls on the island we have made something like 10,000 items in the two weeks we have been locked down.”
“When this happened we had the chance to jump on the first flight home but we felt we should stay put. The island is our home, that we all appreciate and where we make our living. We wanted to stay here and now we feel we are contributing in our own small way.”
Meanwhile, in Valencia, Bronenosec sail maker Alfredo Roberi is also spending his days producing protective masks and gowns having obtained a special permit allowing him to work in his sail loft. Alfredo has already made some 600 masks and 300 face shields putting not only his time, but also his money into the project to purchase the material. His wife, Ana, is in charge of distributing the material to ONGs, hospitals and those in need of it the most. Alfredo is an expert in the use of these materials, and he believes that those used in the professional sailing industry are incredibly versatile in this current crisis.
“The masks that I make are reusable. You can wash them, or put them in the microwave, and then use them again, so they are very useful, and durable. Many people have been donating material to me, and I’d like to thank everyone for their help.”