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Cup Spy: Kiwis have a light day, with a big test to come. Luna Rossa unveil LEQ12

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz 13 Oct 2022 03:01 PDT 13 October 2022
AC40 - Emirates Team NZ - October 13, 2022 © Adam Mustill / America's Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand sailed the AC40, still on One-Design configuration, in light winds on the Hauraki Gulf.

The breeze filled in later in the afternoon, as the AC40 moved further out into the Gulf, and then rode the breeze back into the harbour getting to the base around 1600hrs, after four hours on the water.

The day was a test of the AC40 foiling, or otherwise, in winds that are regarded as marginal foiling conditions. Depending on where the wind was read its was between 7.5 and 10kts. Liftoff should be achieved in winds of 7.5kts - the minimum wind speed during the 2021 America's Cup sailed in the same area was 6.5kts, and the AC75's would get airborne if they picked up a little more pressure. Once the AC72's had lifted out, they begin to generate their own apparent wind, and hit speeds in the mid to high 20kts - sailing at 3-4 times windspeed.

Against these parameters, the AC40 - from what we saw, and reviewed on video looked to be turning in a similar foiling performance to a very good AC72.

The sea state was relatively flat with a small swell - generated by stronger winds that are expected tomorrow. The expectation is that the AC40 will sail in winds that are predicted for over 20kts, with a vigorous sea state. In Auckland on the outer Rangitoto Channel and Inner Hauraki Gulf this means a modest swell with a wind chop on top. Great conditions in a regular monohull - but in a foiler it might be quite a different story.

Some may recall Grant Dalton's response to a question asked at the Winners Media Conference in Bermuda, as to whether the AC50 would be used again in Auckland. "I wouldn't like to be on one around the back of Rangitoto in a sea breeze with wind against tide," he retorted.

That is the test set down for the AC40 - it's a crucial one given what we have seen to date in Barcelona in a fresh breeze and awkward seastate.

Coach and Sailing Squad member Ray Davies confirmed this afternoon that they will take the opportunity to test in the fresh seabreeze - forecast to hit 20kts. If the conditions are too much, they will move into the shelter of Rangitoto Island to avoid some of the rough seas. Davies said they would to test ride heights to keep the hull clear of the swell. However the sailing session is expected to be quite a spectacle. The team has sailed an AC72 in stronger winds, but in an offshore breeze with a sheltered seastate.

Luna Rossa make their first move

Luna Rossa have unveiled their LEQ12 - which meets the requirement of being less than the 12 metres the maximum overall length permitted for a test boat.

Luna Rossa's LEQ 12 is the first unique test boat launched in this America's Cup cycle. INEOS Britannia are expected to follow suit in short order.

In true Luna Rossa style, every boat launch is a special occasion. This was no different with the LEQ12 being completely covered with a white shroud, as the crew gathered below - whipping the shroud away at the right moment.

The Italian boat is a departure in design concept from the two Version 1 AC75's sailed in the 2021 America's Cup.

It does have a similar deck structure and layout to their 2021 America's Cup Challenger. The stern sections appear similar to Emirates Team New Zealand's Te Rehutai, the 2021 America's Cup champion. The bow treatment is a lot softer than the Kiwi boat, and is a more conventional style, so beloved of Luna Rossa.

The LEQ12 was launched with two different styles of foil - both with bulbs and minimum section wings - heading down the same path as Emirates Team NZ and American Magic in the last Cup.

Images of the Day:

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