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Cup Spy: New speed mark and capsize punctuate AC40 session in 25kt winds

by Richard Gladwell/ 4 Oct 22:03 PDT 5 October 2022
Emirates Team New Zealand - AC40 - Auckland - October 5, 2022 © Adam Mustill / America's Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand put the AC40 through its paces in a morning session on the Waitemata and Inner Hauraki Gulf on the 2021 America's Cup Courses D and E off Auckland Eastern Beach.

Winds averaged 20-25kts, gusting over 25kts from the SW - an offshore breeze.

With a front moving across the city in the early-mid afternoon, the session was conducted in the strongest winds yet seen for the AC40 practice sessions.

Aboard today were the 2017 and 2021 America's Cup champion crew and Olympic Gold and Silver medalist, Nathan Outteridge.

The highlight of the session was hitting a new top speed. "We got up to about 46kts or something like that today, so we weren't pushing it too hard on Day 5," said helmsman Peter Burling passing off the new mark. "We're taking it nice and easy and just working our way up," he added.

"The AC40 is an absolutely amazing little boat," Burling said after Wednesday's sail. "To be able to jump on at Day 5 and be out there with the wind at over 20kts is very cool."

"There's definitely a lot more things that we are trying to set up more simply than there would be otherwise for the One Design."

"It's definitely a cool project and exciting to be back," he added.

It seems that the flight control autopilot is still a work in progress, as are many of the other systems on the AC40 which is a half scale AC75, the current America's Cup class.

"I think everything's improving, right across the board," Burling said." "We're still very much in the commissioning phase of this boat. Everything's getting better in the way people are using systems, and that's a pretty big gain across the board. Obviously, the autopilot is a big part of that as well."

The AC40 tipped over for the third time in five days of sailing.

While the first was due to instability in light winds, and the second after the crew were pushing the AC40 and auto flight control - and nosedived.

Today's was a first for any team in the AC75, or test boats - when a crew snafu resulted in the wrong foil arm being raised in a tack.

"Yes, it was definitely very much a user error," Burling confessed after the session.

"We raised the wrong board."

"So the board we were supposed to be foiling on - was raised and then the AC40 rolled over to leeward.

"It was one of the more mundane kinds of boring capsizes we'll do, but it's all part of it."

Responding to a question about mainsail leech twist, differing from one tack to the other, Burling commented: "we're just getting used to how the systems are trimming, and I wouldn't look too closely at the super fine details."

"Today, the tacking angle was around 33 - 34.5 degrees upwind and downwind 148 degrees or similar," he said.

Strong winds and winter conditions returned to Auckland on Wednesday afternoon, and will continue for Thursday. Friday is the next possible sailing day in Auckland.

Session Statistics - Auckland October 5, 2022 - Emirates Team NZ - AC40 in One Design mode

  • Wind Strength (PM): 10-23 knots Wind Angle: SW
  • Current: Incoming Slight
  • Dock Out: 0900 (Dock In: 1600)
  • Total Tacks: 11 – 10 foiling, 1 splash down and go
  • Total gybes: 11 – 11 foiling
  • Helms: Nathan Outteridge, Andy Maloney, Josh Junior.
  • Crews: Pete Burling, Blair Tuke
  • Sails: M1 (used for 2.5 hours) J3 (used for 2 hours) J2 (used for 0.5 hours)

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