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North Sails Performance 2023 - LEADERBOARD

Cup Spy: Kiwis expected to begin on the water design testing

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ 29 Oct 2022 03:55 PDT 29 October 2022
Emirates Team NZ AC40 One Design - 27 October, 2022 - Waitemata Harbour, Auckland © Adam Mustill / America's Cup

The Recon Team following Emirates Team New Zealand as part of the AC37 Joint Recon believe that the commissioning phase of the AC40 project has finished, and that the America's Cup champions will move onto development work for their next sailing session.

Key points October 27, 2022:

  • Emirates Team New Zealand was the only team to sail on Thursday, October 27
  • American Magic last sailed their AC75 on October 19, from Pensacola, Fl
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing last sailed their AC75 on October 21 from Barcelona
  • Luna Rossa last sailed their LEQ12 on October 25 from Cagliari
  • INEOS Britannia are yet to sail their newly launched LEQ12 from Mallorca
  • The Arbitration Panel for the 37th America's Cup was announced

Emirates Team New Zealand took off on another tour of the inner Hauraki Gulf on Thursday, chasing some bigger waves and seeking the answers to a few pressing questions, as to how the foilers would handle the rougher water and more confused swell expected at Barcelona 2024.

Thursday was not an easy day for the Recon team tasked with observing the performance of the Kiwi boat and crew.

Once they reached the Rangitoto Channel in a wind against tide condition, they found the foiler handled the difficult sea state much more comfortably than the Recon RIB, which was forced to observe from a distance, as ETNZ's AC40 sailed well out into the Hauraki Gulf.

Despite the slightly milder conditions than the previous day, the Recon team observed the AC40 nosediving on a couple of occasions. Dockside after the session, they questioned Elise Beavis, Emirates Team NZ performance engineer and current Womens WASZP World Champion, as to what was triggering the "stuff-ins", or nosedives.

"I think it's more just practice and the guys are trying lots of different things to figure out the fastest way to sail the boats and the most efficient ways to get through manoeuvres," she said.

"They're just trying to push the boat more and looking for some top speeds in some of those bearaways, for a bit of fun!"

Over the course of the AC40 Commissioning, the crew manoeuvres have ticked along to the point where on Thursday's sail, of 84 tacks and gybes, 83 were dry, and there was only one "touch down" in the session. What was remarkable about Thursday was that 84 manoeuvres was about double the usual for a sailing session.

In a foiling breeze, that dry tack/gybe ratio has remained near perfect from the time the Kiwis started sailing the AC40. The crew of former Olympic class sailors have seemingly perfected the art of roll-tacking the foiling monohull. Not that the technique is related solely to the AC40 - we saw it a lot in practice sessions in the AC75. Under the pressure of racing, the dry tacks were not so easy, but their dry percentage was still very high.

"I think it's really trying to have that minimum time with two foils in the water," explains Beavis - who has been with the team for almost seven years since graduating from Auckland University with an Honours degree in Engineering. She joined the team in December 2015 and went straight onto the Cyclors project which played a key part in the America's Cup win 18 months later in Bermuda. The knowledge gained from that project will be one of the edges that Emirates Team New Zealand will take into the next America's Cup - where pedal power will again be permitted to pressurise the hydraulics systems which control most of the rig and sail adjustments.

"It's all a game of wetted area. So when you've got two foils in the water, plus the rudder - if they can get rid of one foil, that's quite a lot less drag. The idea is to get the old foil out of the water and not leave it in too long," Beavis explained.

Whatever the technique, the Kiwis have certainly set a difficult benchmark for those who following the AC40 One Design racing.

On Thursday, the AC40 was sailing on a J3 intermediate jib, without suffering too much at the lower end of the wind range. As was seen in the 2021 America's Cup, crews are quick to change down a jib size and wear the occasional loss of optimum power, than risk being caught with a bigger sail and suffering the boat speed penalty of too much drag from a sail being used above its range.

Session Statistics - Auckland - October 27, 2022 - Emirates Team NZ - AC40

  • Wind Strength 13-18kts (PM)
  • Wind Direction: (AM) NNE (PM)
  • Sea State: Slight Moderate (PM)
  • Roll out: 1130hrs Dock Out: 1240hrs
  • Dock In: 1520hrs Crane out: 1545hrs
  • Total Tacks: 47 - Fully foiling: 46; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 37 - Fully foiling: 37; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0

Crew: Nathan Outteridge, Peter Burling (Helms); Andy Maloney, Blair Tuke (Trimmers)

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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