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America's Cup Rialto: November 6 - Three Challengers together on the water

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World NZ 6 Nov 04:58 PST 7 November 2020
Patriot - American Magic - Waitemata Harbour - November 6, 2020 - 36th America's Cup © Richard Gladwell /

The three Challengers for the 36th America's Cup were on the water today, sailing the Course D and E areas.

Unlike earlier in the week, the breeze was a mild 10-15kt SW breeze - ideal for testing and an occasional sideways glance at the opposition.

There was none of the follow the leader, that was played out on Course E - earlier in the week.

Obviously the three challengers are in various states of preparation for the Prada Cup, and maybe more importantly the Christmas Cup, also known as the third round of the America's Cup World Series. That preliminary event, gets under in a month from next week. The Christmas Cup/ACWS is the only event in which the Challengers and Defender will face off before the America's Cup Match.

The teams are not all working to the same time lines. American Magic has been sailing in Auckland since the end of July, and were first to launch their new AC75 three weeks ago on October 16. INEOS Team UK launched their second AC75 the day after American Magic, and Luna Rossa on October 20. American Magic sailed three days after their launch, INEOS Team UK sailed three-four days after their launch. And Luna Rossa first docked out around 1440hrs on Saturday October 24, sailed that day, towed home from the Hauraki Gulf and spent a week in the team hangar on Hobson Wharf, and not sailing again until the Sunday November 1.

Bear these time lines in mind when seeing the video and comments about the teams' relative performance.

Although it is early days, of the three Challengers, American Magic looks to have the early edge. Patriot is a much different boat than their first AC75 Defiant.

Obviously the New York Yacht Club team has been training longer in Auckland - having their first sail on July 27, while the other two have been sailing in Auckland for less than two weeks.

Compared to Defiant, Patriot appears to have a lot wider sailing groove, and is much easier to get to target speed and stay there. The instability of Defiant is gone, and Patriot looks to be "sailing on rails". That should be a big gain as it should enable the AC75 to be pushed harder - and in the AC75, harder is faster - without any of the control issues so characteristic of Defiant at times.

Of the other two, we had a look at Luna Rossa on Tuesday in a fresh breeze and again today. It is still early days for the Italian boat. It was quite impressive against Patriot on Course E in the big breeze. Today was a little more stop and go. Luna Rossa spent over a week in their hangar on Hobson Wharf after their first sail - so stoppages are to be expected.

We only really saw INEOS Team UK today - having only previously seen her sail only on a return down the Rangitoto Channel. Again it is early days, but they too are not at the same level as Patriot, for the same reasons as Luna Rossa.

Emirates Team New Zealand has not been out since they capsized on October 10, and retired Te Aihe thereafter. We are expecting to see the second AC75 next week.

To our eyes Te Aihe looked to be faster and slicker that any of the Challenger Boat 2's. However all that could mean is that the kiwis were able to throw the design ball a little further than the others on their first attempt, and it doesn't necessarily follow that they will be that far ahead with Boat 2. Based on what has been achieved in the past Cup cycles with high performance America's Cup Class - AC50's or AC72's - we'd expect to see a performance gain of 10-15% maybe 20% by the end of the America's Cup. The top boats have long gone on 50kts and 55kts maybe 60kts looks to be the target - even though that appears to be ridiculously high.

For the record, American Magic was the first to dockout at 1100hrs, INEOS Team UK followed ten minutes later and Luna Rossa left at 1240hrs.

The AC75's may sail tomorrow morning with the breeze expected to be close to 30kts in the afternoon.

Justin Mitchell Here is Patriot early on in their day out sailing. Nice and close before they decided to head further, for better breeze I assume. You get a really good angle under the hull here. Wind: 11kts W (coming from behind the camera at the end of the footage) Filmed from:Torpedo Bay

We're following Britannia in the video below going downwind, Patriot's in the same area and they cross once, then gybe and cross again. Something causes Patriot to swerve or come down abruptly off the foils. Checking back on the video, it could be it swerved to avoid and chase boat, hit some swell from a chase boat, or was buffeted by the airflow of Britannia...see what you think. There were a lot of chase boats in the same area...and on alternating tacks and gybes! Bear in mind the long distance this is shot at as it affects how close/far together they appear. Wind: 14kts W (from behind right shoulder)

Here's a brief clip of Patriot on their way back in after a big day of sailing. They mainly sailed around Race Course D. The westerly breeze was coming right up the harbour. They were looking very proficient today, throwing down gybes and tacks one after the other. They looked to be really pushing. At time of filming: 13kts W to WSW at Bean Rock. Filmed from North Head

Airflow NZ Travel - Mike Millett

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team AC75 Yacht 2 was out again today sharing the Harbour with American Magics Patriot and Ineos Team UK's Britannia. Another smooth performance.

American Magic Team AC75 Yacht Patriot was out again sailing on the Waitemata Harbour in company with Britannia and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Boat 2.

Mike Cochrane Long play and very comprehensive 45 minute video. The light wasn't that great yesterday, so the video is not as vivid as it would normally be. Mike Cochrane says: INEOS Team UK's Britannia 2, NYYC America Magic's Patriot, and Luna Rossa were all on the water today training in the vicinity of "Course D".

The wind was in the 12-15 knot range, from a very stable 270 degrees. For almost all video angles, the wind is coming from the left of the screen.

Patriot was first one the water, followed 30 mins later by Britannia 2. Luna Rossa was a couple of hours behind. Britannia had a main sail change, all teams made multiple headsail changes.

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