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Henri-Lloyd 2022 December - SW LEADERBOARD

Cup Spy Nov 19: American Magic racks up more miles in perfect foiling conditions

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ 19 Nov 2022 16:08 PST 18 November 2022
A school of dolphins play ahead of American Magic - AC75 - November 18, 2022 - Pensacola, Fl © AC37 Joint Recon

What happened in the Cup - November 17/18, 2022:

  • American Magic was back on the water in Pensacola with the breeze in the 10-12kts range, and had another good session in flat water.
  • INEOS Britannia stayed ashore in Majorca
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing is back in the shed for an upgrade - not expected to emerge until the end of November.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand did not sail - probably because of the weekend and some awful weather in Auckland
  • Luna Rossa dropped the mast off their LEQ12, while rigged and before launching on Sunday - just over a week ago and is expected to be out for a "few weeks".

American Magic - AC75 Version 2 - Pensacola - November 18, 2022

Those who have been following these daily commentaries will be aware that sailing conditions in Pensacola, Florida and the 2024 America's Cup venue of Barcelona are at opposite ends of the foiling sea state spectrum.

In a near mirror image of the previous day's session, American Magic clocked up 70nm, on Pensacola Bay in flat water and 10-12kts breeze. Ideal conditions for speed testing and gathering performance data - but a long way from the awkward sea state and inconsistent breeze expected in Barcelona in August-October 2024 (see video at bottom of this commentary).

Patriot, American Magic's upgraded AC75 sailed initially with a J2 jib for 50 minutes at the start of the session, before changing up to the full hoist J1 jib for the three and a half hours of the session.

As with yesterday, the start of the session waited for the northerly wind to build, with the AC75 having to be towed onto its foils for 50% of the runs.

There were seven tow-ups and seven self starts to get foiling. Winds of this strength are above the minimum for racing in the America's Cup and AC75's would normally have expected to self-start, and particularly so in Patriot which is an AC75 that is lighter the version sailed in the 2021 America's Cup.

The team were joined by a school of dolphins, who turned on an aerobatic display during one of Patriot's foiling fly-pasts.

The observation team note that the AC75 was on its foils for durations of 1-6 minutes for the majority of the day with longer foiling times at the end of the day in the range 8-19 minutes.

"We had to wait for the good bit of the breeze in the afternoon. But once it filled in it was really nice. That's good as it gets," said flight controller Andrew Campbell, a 2008 Olympian in the Laser class, and silver medalist at the Star Europeans. He is also part of the USA SailGP team, as well as being with American Magic in the 2021 America's Cup.

"We're pushing the boat hard every day," he told the AC37 Joint Recon team on their return to the dock. "It's not always rainbows and unicorns out there. We're trying to make incremental gains. So when we do get good days like this to hack into, we're going make the most of them."

"We're trying to make gains and learnings in every position on the boat. So every hour we can get with every person on board is important. There's a lot of people in new spots. We're trying to make gains everywhere we can."

Campbell put the splashdowns during gybes as "gybing too hard. Making these boats get around the racetrack is not easy. And flight control is a learning process for newbies and for veterans," he added.

As can be seen from the GPS track graphic the tracks are quite random, as the crew again chased speed. Wind sheer or different wind strength, higher up the rig may account for the worse than expected startups and course directions. Only the American Magic crew know this data, which is not available in the AC37 Joint Recon system.

Not too much weight should be placed on maneuver stats at this stage of the program, as they are easily remedied with practice. At this stage it is more important the new crew to come up to speed and develop teamwork. The upwind dry tacks ratio was good. Gybes were only 50/50 on what is usually the easier maneuver to stay dry.

There was no mention in the Recon team reports of the speeds achieved in the session, however one would expect these to be in the same range as the previous day in slightly lighter conditions of 30kts upwind and 40kts reaching.

The trick for American Magic will be to reproduce the performance numbers of Pensacola in the awkward sea state and breezes of Barcelona.

The team is expected to relocate to Barcelona as soon as a base is complete.

Session Statistics - Pensacola, Fl - November 18, 2022 - American Magic - AC75 Version 2

Crew: Riley Gibbs, Paul Goodison, Lucas Calibrese, Andrew Campbell, Trevor Burd, Dan Morris. Power Team: John Croom, Coulton Hall

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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