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Cup Spy Nov 9: Red Bull has best session yet on Day 29

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ 9 Nov 2022 14:21 PST 10 November 2022
Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - November 9, 2022 - Barcelona © Alex Carabi / America's Cup

What happened in the Cup - November 9, 2022:

  • Luna Rossa dropped mast off LEQ12, while rigged and before launching on Sunday - expected to be out for a "few weeks".
  • American Magic with Hurricane Nicole advancing American Magic seem to have opted against sailing until the storm is done.
  • INEOS Britannia are yet to sail their newly launched LEQ12 from Mallorca
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailed their AC75 from Barcelona and had another good sailing session - a much steadier performance in probably their best session to date.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand did not sail - crew have left to contest the SailGP regatta

Alinghi Red Bull Racing were the only team to sail on Wednesday, their 29th day of sailing their first generation AC75.

The conditions off Barcelona appeared to be excellent for AC75 sailing, despite claims that the winds were lighter than forecast. It looked to be a little fresher than Tuesday, and more into the range of the team's M2 mainsail which has been recut to accommodate the teams new boomless mainsail system which only came on at the beginning of the month.

"We did all the testing today we wanted," said Florian Trub (Power Group), dockside after the session. "It was a really good day. We tried out different settings and was really good."

The slightly increased breeze should have got the team closer to having the correct sails set for the conditions. In some of the extended play video available we can see the boat boat come up to foiling speed and then "pop" out of the water. This is how we used to see Alinghi's Boat Zero, formerly Emirates Team New Zealand's Te Aihe sail in Auckland. The transition is very quick - maybe only a couple of frames shooting in burst mode on a camera - which means that the foiling transition is less than 2 secs. Blink and you miss it.

It is not known whether Alinghi RBR are using their automated flight control, which would be normal practice in this type of testing, or if they are trying to fly manually - where we would expect to see the ride height be a little more erratic. Either way it is of little consequence, as with the AC75 settings stabilised, it is easier to get the manual flight control cut over to manual at a later stage.

From the steadiness of the AC75, it seems likely that Dean Barker is being used to helm the boat - using his experience and consistency to get as many gremlins sorted, before the Swiss crew take a more significant role, and Barker acts as a coach.

We are still seeing few tacks and gybes from Alinghi RBR, to date. Again the focus, at their stage of development has to be on straight line speed, getting the boat balanced and sailing properly and then worry about what happens on the cornering. Team pick up their cornering performance by doing plenty of them in a session - reducing the speed learning and data collection gained in straight line sessions.

Today a gentle swell maybe (.5 metre or more) could be seen rolling across the course, which caused the AC75 to pitch slightly, but getting a noticeable stop with each impacts of the bow into a swell, but the crew had the balance of the AC75 set up properly - being heeled slightly to leeward - so the windward foil arm, while being close to the surface, did not connect which would have acerbated any drag/stop from the seaway.

Tomorrow the winds are forecast to be light in Barcelona - below the 6kts minum for racing, however they are expected at 17-21kts on Friday with a 1 metre high sea state - which will be interesting if the Swiss do decide to venture out.

The team covered 47nm in the 4.5hrs session.

As can be seen from the stats below there is a big time lag between launch and dockout - normally with a 0900hrs launch, dockout would be around 90 minutes later. There does seem to be a lot of attention being paid to getting the new boomless mainsail set up properly before leaving the dock. However today's delay was caused by waiting for the breeze to pick up.

Session Statistics - Barcelona - November 9, 2022 - Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Version 1

  • Wind Strength 5kts (AM) 8kts (PM)
  • Wind Direction: S (AM) SW (PM)
  • Sea State: SS1 0.5m E swell(AM) 2 with 0.5m E swell(PM)
  • Roll out: 0910hrs Dock Out: 1255hrs
  • Dock In: 1740hrs Crane out: 1815hrs
  • Total Tacks: 5 - Fully foiling: 1; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down:
  • Total Gybes: 1 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1

Crew: Driving Group: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Dean Barker, Yves Detrey, Pietro Sibello, Nico Charbonnier, Lucien Cujean | Power Group: Nicolas Rolaz, Nils Theuninck, Thery Schir, Nico Stalberg, Florian Tub

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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