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Cup Spy Nov 5: Swiss and USA both end week on a high note

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ 6 Nov 2022 03:31 PST 6 November 2022
Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - November 4, 2022 - Barcelona © Alex Carabi / America's Cup

What happened in the Cup - November 4/5, 2022:

  • Luna Rossa stayed ashore on Saturday.
  • American Magic sailed the AC75 off Pensacola, again with Tom Slingsby on the helm and cyclors back in operation. Moderate to fresh winds made a refreshing appearance in Pensacola, Fl.
  • INEOS Britannia are yet to sail their newly launched LEQ12 from Mallorca
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailed their AC75 from Barcelona - only sailed for an hour - but it was quality time.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand did not sail - it was Saturday in NZ, and the team do not usually sail on weekends..

Both Swiss and US America's Cup teams had good days on November 4 (American Magic) and November 5 (Alinghi Red Bull Racing). American Magic got a moderate to fresh breeze and began turning in numbers that would have been very competitive in Auckland 2021. The Swiss were on their 27th Day out of the shed, and are in their first real block of testing with a focus on getting the most out of their new clew sheeted mainsail. After an initial period of light winds, they got going with some sustained foiling bursts to round out a good, if not a long day.

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 Version 1 - Barcelona

The Swiss team docked out after noon hoping to find the breeze had increased, after four unsuccessful attempts to be towed onto its foils, they towed south toward the airport, where there is often more pressure. This proved to be the case, and the Swiss crew were able to complete an hour of foiling - sailing long legs, and achieving a dry tack.

"We knew it was going to be light and long day on the water, so we went out on midday and we were waiting for the wind that didn't really fill in before four o'clock. In the end we got the testing done we wanted," said helmsman Arnaud Psarofaghis.

The focus of their testing is around the boomless mainsail, on which the main boom has been replaced by a complex hydraulic device which allows the foot of the mainsail to be eased or flattened, as well as controlling mainsail leech tension. The Swiss team have recut their M2 mainsail to test the boomless system concept.

In Pensacola, Florida, the US challenger American Magic is testing the same concept, also on an AC75 from the 2021 America's Cup cycle - and are getting some goo results - hitting just under 40kts upwind.

If the Swiss team can make their new system work Psarofaghis says they will do the same on their M1, or lighter weather mainsail, and continue testing, crew and speed development.

They don't have a lot of time, with pundits estimating they have another four-six months, including Xmas and a northern hemisphere winter to get the performance data required to enable the design of their AC75 raceboat which needs to be launched and sailing by April/May 2024 - ready for the Challenger Selection Series which starts in August 2024.

Alinghi Red Bull Racing enjoyed some of their best foiling conditions yet, late in the afternoon - flat seas and a consistent breeze - and were able to get more confidence with the new boomless mainsail setup. In 7kt breezes, the minimum for an AC75 to get foil-borne, they should be sailing at two or three times true wind speed - particularly if they are sailing in a straight line and not tacking.

"Yes today it was really good to do this hour of foiling to test the work we've been wanting to do the whole week. It was a really good day," Psarofaghis added.

Session Statistics - Barcelona - November 5, 2022 - Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Version 1

  • Wind Strength 5kts (AM) 7kts (PM)
  • Wind Direction: E (AM) SW (PM
  • Sea State: 1(AM) 2 with 0.5m E swell(PM)
  • Roll out: 1015hrs Dock Out: 1230hrs
  • Dock In: 1730hrs Crane out: 1810hrs
  • Total Tacks: 2 - Fully foiling: 1; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 5 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 3

Crew: Driving Group: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Dean Barker, Yves Detrey, Pietro Sibello | Power Group: Nicolas Rolaz, Arthur Cevey, Nils Theuninck, Augustin Maillefer, Thery Schir, Nico Stalberg, Florian Tub

On-Water Recon Unit Notes: With very light winds before noon, the team docked out just after midday to find stronger breeze. The yacht was not able to get on foils without tow-assisted starts, which also did not work effectively. Aiming to get data on the clew, the yacht was towed southwest past the harbour entrance, towards the airport. With marginally more wind, Alinghi managed a stint of an hour consisting of long legs on foil. The session was brought to an end the yacht towed back just before sunset.

American Magic - AC75 Version 2 - Pensacola

American Magic got their long sought change in breeze, which came with an increased sea state. The Recon team report a top speed of 38kts upwind, and 42kts downwind. The upwind speed is near the same as was achieved in Auckland in the 2021 America's Cup, and indicates that the team have got Patriot into a good place this early in the campaign. The cyclists were aboard again and met the power demands according to Juan Meseguer, one of the American Magic design team interviewed by the AC37 Joint Recon team.

In five hours of sailing, Meseguer said the cyclors were rotated three times. "It's a pretty tough job for them, and I think they rotated about three times. I don't know much about the sailing team. But I think they're testing the people and see how much power they give into the system - and checking how your heart rate comes up and versus your power up. I guess it's a learning curve."

"I think it's a learning curve on how to use the power of the human," he added.

Session Statistics - Pensacola, Fl - November 4, 2022 - American Magic - AC75 Version 2

  • Wind Strength 8-16kts (AM) 8-12kts (PM)
  • Wind Direction: E(AM) E (PM)
  • Sea State: 2-3ft (AM) 1-2ft (PM)
  • Roll out: 0830hrs Dock Out: 1000hrs
  • Dock In: 1640hrs Crane out: 1700hrs
  • Total Tacks: 18 - Fully foiling: 14; Touch & Go: 4; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 7 - Fully foiling: 5; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 2

Crew: Tom Slingsby, Paul Goodison, Lucas Calibrese, Trevor Burd, Dan Morris

On Water Recon Unit Notes: Patriot sailed approximately 50nm including 19 combined up/downwind legs (the East breeze requires the skinnier portion of the bay to be used for W/L). Patriot's started the day foiling at 10:27 and sailed for 17 min, touching down at 10:44. The wind was sustained 13k and gusting to 18k, the wave heights were close to 3 feet and confused. In this 17 minute session Patriot appeared less stable than in the 9 prior sailing days (several touch and goes, one of them was a hard splash down). The team did not sail again until 12:40, after self lift off the team sailed their longest on foil for the day (29 minutes). The remainder of the day consisted of short up/down wind legs in between tuning (mostly the mainsheet area). Patriot was very stable towards the end of the day, and was definitely faster upwind on the last beat. Highest speeds observed according to the onboard GPS, upwind 38k (approx) downwind 42k (approx). Cyclists were aboard and met the power demands according to Juan in the interview.

Additional Images:

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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