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Cup Spy: Swiss show new development.. Italians hit 28kts before falling over

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ 29 Oct 2022 21:12 PDT 29 October 2022
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12 - October 29, 2022 - Gulf of Cagliari © Ivo Rovira / America'sCup

Luna Rossa and Alinghi Red Bull Racing were the only two teams to sail on Saturday, with the Italians having their first sail in a moderate breeze in their LEQ12. With the change to a boomless mainsail, the Swiss were the first team to unveil the a major new development of any of the five teams competing in the 2024 America's Cup.

Key points October 29, 2022:

  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailed their AC75 for the first time in over a week, featuring a new boomless mainsail
  • Luna Rossa sailed their LEQ12 and got foiling for the fist time unassisted. They also had a zero-speed capsize.
  • American Magic last sailed their AC75 on October 19, from Pensacola, Fl. This weekend, Doug DeVos and Terry Hutchinson won their fifth 52 Super Series title at Barcelona.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand last sailed their AC40 on Thursday October 27, and are expected to have moved from One Design to Development mode
  • INEOS Britannia are yet to sail their newly launched LEQ12 from Mallorca

Luna Rossa started sailing the LEQ12 in light winds, on the Gulf of Cagliari, and again was towed onto its foils so testing could commence.

Later in the day the breeze increased to 16kts, with a bigger sea state, and the Italians appeared, from the available video to handle the conditions with ease. There is no video available showing the LEQ12 lifting onto its foils unassisted, however from the sea-state and breeze, the Italian team would be in serious trouble, if that were not the case.

The Recon team trailing the Italian challenger reported clocking the LEQ12 sailing at 28kts in a moderate swell condition sailing on close an broad reach courses, on their first serious day of testing. Luna Rossa are the first team to have sailed a LEQ12 in this America's Cup cycle

The session was brought to an early end, when the LEQ12 did a zero-speed capsize while on an untensioned tow line and fell over when they lost way - in a similar way to the Kiwis on the second day of sailing their AC40 One Design.

From the available data on the AC40, although they are approximately a half size AC75, they only have a third of the weight, and would be expected to be a more tender yacht. It is likely, based on today's capsize in similar circumstances, that the LEQ12 has a similar ballast ratio to the AC40 One Design.

Dockside after the sailing session, helmsman Jimmy Spithill seemed well pleased with the way the day had gone, and was not fazed about the capsize.

"It was just one of those capsizes we get caught slow - slow boat speed," he explained.

"It is very similar to what we saw the Kiwis do on the AC 40 [on Day 2]. It was just one of those ones, where we get down speed and it's nothing to do with sailing."

While the day may have started light, the breeze freshened towards the end of the sailing session. From the Recon video the LEQ12 looked to have got a good workout, particularly given that it is still a very new boat and concept.

"There were It was pretty big waves out there. But all in all, I thought it was a pretty good day," the twice America's Cup winner reflected. "It's just great to get out there and get sailing. It was definitely in a top-end condition out there at the end of the session."

"If it wasn't for the sun going down, we would have kept sailing as soon as we pulled the boat upright."

"We just need to get some more sailing time. The last few days, we've had no wind, and it hasn't been that good an opportunity. Hopefully the next few days, we'll get out there again," he added.

Session Statistics - Cagliari, Sardinia - October 29, 2022 - Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12

  • Wind Strength 7kts (AM) 16kts (PM)
  • Wind Direction: SE (AM) SSE (PM)
  • Sea State: 0.6metre choppy (PM)
  • Roll out: 1145hrs Dock Out: 1415hrs
  • Dock In: Crane out: 1800hrshrs
  • Total Tacks: No record
  • Total Gybes: No Record

Crew: Jimmy Spithill, Ruggero Tita, Umberto Mollineris, Andrea Tesel

After having been in the boat shed for over a week, at the Alinghi Red Bull Racing's Boat Zero, emerged sporting a loose footed, clew sheeted mainsail.

The same system is in use by American Magic, the only other America's Cup challenger sailing a Version 1 AC75.

The boomless system was first developed by Emirates Team New Zealand for the 2021 America's Cup, and they were the only one of four teams who did not use a mainsail boom either above or below the cockpit deck, as did Luna Rossa in the last America's Cup.

Dockside after the sailing session Gautier Sergent, part of the Sail and Aero team, explained that the boomless mainsail had been worked on for the past few months.

"When we launched Boat Zero, we always intended to go boomless, and now was the time to do it," he said.

"There are a few things we want to see about not having a boom, like what the advantages are. They are something we wanted to explore full scale."

"I was working for INEOS, last time, and we started with no boom, and then we went to a boom.

"Today was a perfect day for commissioning the sail - with no wind - we wanted to make sure everything was working, and put load on the system step by step. In the next few days, we'll just wait for the breezes. As soon as we get some wind, we will go sailing and start to record some data."

Light winds, which also clocked through a complete circle, meant that there was no real sailing done. All jibs were kept on deck or on the chase boat and not hoisted.

The Recon team trailing Alinghi Red Bull Racing say the system used to sheet the main sail - controlling both leech tension as well as functioning as a mainsail outhaul - is similar to that on the Luna Rossa LEQ12, where the large centre piston rod connects to the mainsail track, and the two smaller pistons on tracks connect to the respective mainsail skins. In place of the gooseneck are now two actuators for the downhaul of each skin.

The Swiss team have recut an existing mainsail to suit the new boomless system. The foot of the sail now forms a much better, and smoother endplate with the foot of the sail and the distinctive centre console of the former ETNZ AC75 Te Aihe - now been renamed "Boat Zero" by the Swiss.

The Recon team also noted that the J1-1R that had previously torn in the clew, during the nosedive on their last sailing day, has been repaired and was on the boat today. Next sailing day is expected to be Wednesday 2nd November, at the earliest.

Session Statistics - Barcelona, Spain - October 29, 2022 - Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75

  • Wind Strength: <5kts (AM); <5kts (PM)
  • Wind Direction: E (AM) E (PM)
  • Sea State: 1 (AM); 1 (PM)
  • Roll out: 0930hrs Dock Out: 1155hrs
  • Dock In: 1520hrs Crane out: 1625hrshrs
  • Total Tacks: - Fully foiling:; Touch & Go:; Touch Down:
  • Total Gybes: - Fully foiling:; Touch & Go:; Touch Down:

Crew: Driving team: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Yves Detrey, Bryan Mettraux, Pietro Sibello, Lucien Cujean. Power team: Nicolas Rolaz, Arthur Cevey, Nils Theuninck, Augustin Maillefer

Additional Images - Alinghi Red Bull Racing:

Additional Images - Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli:

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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