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Cup Spy: Alinghi Red Bull Racing hits turbulence

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ 22 Oct 2022 15:17 PDT 23 October 2022
Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - October 19, 2022 - Barcelona © Alex Carabi / America's Cup

Today, Alinghi Red Bull Racing turned an interesting display of sailing in a rather turbulent Barcelona seastate, and designer Marcelino Botin, agreed afterwards that the the swell and chop could have a big effect on the design of team raceboats for Barcelona 2024.

Key points October 21, 2022:

  • Luna Rossa gets on the water for the first time since the 2021 America's Cup to conduct foiling tests of their LEQ12 surrogate yacht.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing continued test sailing off Barcelona in the AC75. They ran into an increasing breeze and awkward sea state, terminating the session with the breeze at 17kts, and making some spectacular contact with the confused seas and significant swell.
  • Emirates Team NZ did another short sailing session, in moderate breezes in the AC40, without incident. They confirmed that they will take delivery of their second AC40 before Christmas.
  • American Magic did not sail
  • Brits say they will have a reveal later this week, maybe of their surrogate yacht an LEQ12, or maybe their AC40 which may have arrived from China.

Alinghi Red Bull Racing hits out in a fresh breeze.

The Swiss did three hours of sailing during the four and a half hours session, in which they covered almost 45nm.

In the light of a forecast increase in the breeze, the team started with the M2 mainsail anticipating the stronger winds. They started on the J1 jib, in the lighter conditions changing down to the J3 and then finished on the smaller J4, sailing for about an hour on each sail.

After the session, Marcelino Botin, Head of Design for Alinghi Red Bull Racing, spoke dockside with the AC37 Joint Recon team. (See Highlights video below).

"Clearly it is very important for us to be sailing, gathering information for the design of the boats. We had a pretty good day in varied conditions," he said.

He was pressed further on the sea conditions off Barcelona, which can included a swell from one direction, wind chop from another, and seawall wave reverberation cutting across the race area from a third direction.

"One of the characteristics of this race course is that you have very different conditions from one day to the other," Botin explained.

"Our main focus, right now is to get as much as much data from the boats and work that into a successful race boat.

He agreed that the the swell and chop could have a big effect on the design of team raceboats.

"It's quite different from sailing in Auckland obviously where we had pretty much flat water all of the time, and there are big areas of difference."

"We have to adapt to the new situation," he added.

Questioned further as to whether there would be radical difference between the boats designed for the last Cup and this one, Botin responded:

"We need to decide on that. But I assume, yes, there'll be some differences for sure, and the way the teams approach the design, this time."

"As you know, the conditions are very varied. "

Botin did not believe that being the first team to set up in Barcelona would be an advantage to the Swiss.

"Everybody knows what's going on. Everybody has sailed here many times and knows what the conditions here are like. I'm sure they've all accounted for that in their simulations and the way they may approach the design."

Luna Rossa Foiling Test LEQ12:

Luna Rossa undertook their foiling test, which is the standard next step following the launch of a foiling monohull or multihull. The Italians having launched five days previously. As expected it passed without any significant issues. Seven or eight tow runs were made at speeds of 17-18kts and up to 28kts. It is not known if the LEQ12 was under autopilot for flight control.

The LEQ12 features different designed wing foils attached to each foil arm, as is normal for testing. Both were minimum chord width wings, in the style of American Magic and Emirates Team NZ in the 2021 America's Cup. Previously Luna Rossa and INEOS Team UK favoured, wider chord width wings that would generate lift more quickly in winds at the light end (6.5kts) of the wind range.

Luna Rossa launched the first LEQ12 - the legal surrogate yacht for the 2024 America's Cup, which must be less than or equal to 12metres in length.

The Italian team will be taking delivery of at least one AC40 - to be used as a test boat, or for one design racing in the America's Cup Preliminary Events and the Womens and Youth America's Cups to be staged in October 2024.

The Luna Rossa LEQ12 features several of the design concepts featured on America's Cup winning Emirates Team NZ's AC75, and replicated in the AC40 designed by Emirates Team NZ' design team as a development of their 2021 Version 1 AC75.

Emirates Team NZ get a Xmas present.

Emirates Team New Zealand sailed early-mid afternoon, after the Coastal Classic had started, and before the on-the-water traffic getting away on the water for a long holiday weekend.

The team again sailed their AC40 in One Design mode on now their 12th day on the water in the One Design configuration.

Afterwards helmsman Peter Burling said confirmed the wind strength as around 16kts - not too dissimilar as to what was be experienced in Barcelona, on their Thursday, but it faded earlier than they expected. The team did not experience any significant issues - gear or sailing technique. "We had a list of things to try to do better," Burling said in response to a point where the Kiwis started the session with a couple of very ordinary moves. Today it took us a little while to get into it, by the end of the session we were pulling off some nice manoeuvres in a light air, which was very pleasing for this kind of boat."

"It was definitely the lightest [breeze] that I have sailed the AC40 in," he added. "We were well out of range on the sails, but it was impressive what a bit of span on the foils can do [presumed to be a relative increase in chord width of the foils on the AC40 compared to the AC75]."

"So it is pretty exciting times for the Big Boat", he added.

Responding to a question about headsail selection, Burling said [despite having sailed for 12 days], that they hadn't spent much time sorting out the cross-overs for the various jibs.

Burling confirmed that the team will get is second AC40 before Christmas.

With the second AC40 in their arsenal, Burling wouldn't reveal what the team's sailing plans were with the second AC40. "You'll have to wait and see "Definitely at some stage we are getting both out there."

He then looped back to the standard line that "it has been great to commission this boat. It has been great to get through the list of the One Design things, and to have a good reliable package together. It is also enjoyable to be into a bit more development as well."

"As the team pushes forward it is a balance of development and commissioning. We're as to where things are at the moment."

He said they had not signed off on the Playbook for the AC40 One Design. "We are still chipping away on a few little details - but we have definitely got a package that everyone else can use, and which will get everyone around the course quite comfortably.

"For the Youth and the Women [who will sail their own America's Cup regattas in the AC40] it's an amazing tool to get able to race with."

Under the current America's Cup Protocol, the teams can launch only one new AC75 race boat hull, but that platform can have various elements changed such as wingfoils, sails, on-board systems, rudder packages and more, but with caps on the numbers of components that can be registered for test and race sailing.

They can only sail one AC75 at a time if they own or have purchased an AC75 from the 2021 America's Cup. They are permitted to sail multiple AC40's - meaning that the teams can make a return to two-boat testing, which hasn't been seen since the 2007 America's Cup cycle. For in-house training they can sail the AC40s in whatever mode they wish, provided they are put back to a One Design state for the Preliminary Regattas.

This weekend is a long holiday weekend in New Zealand, and the team is not expected to sail until Tuesday at the earliest.

Session Statistics - Cagliari - October 21, 2022 - Luna Rossa - LEQ12

  • Wind Strength (AM) 10kts
  • Wind Direction: SE (AM)
  • Sea State: 0.4m SE
  • Crane in: 1000hrs Dock Out: 1320hrs
  • Dock In: 1739hs Crane out:
  • Total Tacks: 3 - Fully foiling: 1; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 2 - Fully foiling: 2; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

Session Statistics - Barcelona - October 21, 2022 - Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 Version 1

  • Wind Strength (AM) 4ts (PM): 17+kts
  • Wind Direction: SW (AM) - SSW (PM)
  • Sea State: 1 in the morning, but increased to 4-5.
  • Crane in: 0850 Dock Out: 1045
  • Dock In: 1515 Crane out: 1545
  • Total Tacks: 6 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 7 - Fully foiling: 1; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 5

Session Statistics - Auckland - October 22, 2022 - Emirates Team NZ - AC40 One Design

  • Wind Strength 6-16kts (AM) 5-12kts (PM):
  • Wind Direction: SW (AM) - W (PM)
  • Sea State: Slight
  • Crane in: 1145 Dock Out: 1330
  • Dock In: 1500 Crane out: 1530
  • Total Tacks: 20 - Fully foiling: 18; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 20 - Fully foiling: 17; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0

Additional Images of the Day:

This commentary was written and compiled from video, still images and statistical content extracted from the AC37 Joint Recon program and other material available to Sail-World NZ including photo files, and other on the water coverage from the 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2021 America's Cups.

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