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Cup Spy: Alinghi Red Bull Racing tested in fresh sea breeze off Barcelona

by Richard Gladwell/ 11 Oct 2022 16:36 PDT 12 October 2022
Alinghi Red Bull Racing - Barcelona - October 11, 2022 © Alex Carabi / America's Cup

Alinghi Red Bull Racing faced the music off Barcelona on Tuesday, taking on a fresh seabreeze accompanied by a cross swell and breeze estimated at 20kts.

While the Swiss team are still on a big learning curve, they get full marks for facing up to the same conditions that confronted experienced Cup teams on Day 3 of the Prada Cup in Auckland.

On that day all teams struggled with the seastate, albeit quite mild - and just nice sailing conditions for the former Int America's Cup Class, used for the 2007 America's Cup in Valencia, Spain.

Today's images from the AC37 Joint Recon program, will cause the designers and sailors in all teams to reflect and develop boats and techniques that will enable the AC75's to sail in a moderate to fresh sea-breeze. One of the differences between a foiling monohull and a conventional boat, in a breeze is that the crew have to keep the rig pressured to maintain lift on the leeward foil. The monohull technique of trying to feather a way through the gusts doesn't work - and in fact has the reverse effect on the lightly ballasted foiling monohull.

One solution is to fit cameras to the AC75 hull that will give the flight controller a "visual" of the distance between the hull and the surface. The objective is always to fly as close to the surface of the water as possible, so that the end-plate effect between the rig and the surface is optimised. However if the hull is making contact with the water (and usually the foil arms too), then the ride height needs to be higher, however this brings other factors into play which are not speed enhancing.

If the team fits cameras, they are permitted to show the flight controller the underside of the boat and foils, but the camera is not allowed to be linked electronically with any onboard flight control system which must always be manual. The subject of what is and is not permitted is usually the subject of much correspondence between the teams and the Measurement Committee, who can interpret and rule on these issues.

Off Auckland, on Tuesday (local time) Emirates Team New Zealand spent some time out sailing their AC40 One Design in a moderate Spring sea breeze, however the wind and sea state was more kindly than that of an Autumnal sea breeze off Barcelona. While the Kiwi team said they did not experience any issues in the conditions, they were milder than those off Barcelona, and the crew are also very experienced in sailing foiling monohulls.

Alinghi Red Bull Racing would still appear to be having some flight control issues, however that is to be expected at this stage of their development. Most of the Swiss sailing crew come from a 35ft long foiling multihull background - quite different from the 69ft long foiling monohull.

Session Statistics - Barcelona October 11, 2022 - Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 Version 1

  • Wind Strength (AM) 10kts (PM): 14 knots
  • Wind Direction: NE (AM) – E (PM)
  • Sea State: 1.5metres East Swell
  • Crane in: 0920 Dock Out: 1120
  • Dock In: 1545 Crane out: 1635
  • Total Tacks: 4

American Magic

In Pensacola, Florida, New York Yacht Club's American Magic rolled their AC75 Patriot out of the shed, and launched it ahead of going tow testing for six hours. Next step will be to start sailing, which shouldn't be a biggie - given the boat has previously raced, however there are new crew members to be inducted, and sailing systems thoroughly checked and calibrated.

A point of interest will be whether they sail with 11 crew as required under Version 1 of the AC75 class rule, or eight - the maximum under the AC75 Version 2 class rule.

The launch images indicate that Patriot was launched with an identical pair of wing foils - so no development testing yet.

For the full story on the launch see a special launch story and images

Luna Rossa

The Italian team's Francesco Bruni gives us a conducted tour of their AC75 simulator - the first time a team has opened up on this key application, which each team have developed in their own way.

Luna Rossa will unveil their LEQ12 test boat on Thursday - the first team to unveil a custom designed 12 metre test boat.

No news from Emirates Team NZ today, the team didn't sail with Auckland set to head back into winter. All quiet, too from INEOS Britannia. The team are taking delivery of their first AC40, and are believed to be close to launching their LEQ12 - the first progeny from their new F1 aligned design team

Images of the Day:

Flashback to the 2021 America's Cup:

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