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Cup Spy Nov 27 : Luna Rossa sails ahead of schedule.. More mast tune for the Brits

by Sail-World.com/nz 28 Nov 2022 04:05 PST
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12 - Day 9 - November 27, 2022 - Cagliari © Ivo Rovira / America'sCup

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli went sailing unexpectedly on Sunday afternoon, after being under repair since dropping their mast while rigging on November 6, and damaging the mast head.

What happened in the Cup - November 27, 2022:

  • Luna Rossa sailed their LEQ12 on the Gulf of Cagliari, ahead of time after damaging their mast on November 6.
  • INEOS Britannia continued with the precision setup of their LEQ12's mast in Mallorca, Spain, for the second day
  • American Magic had Thanksgiving Weekend off
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing went into the shed in Barcelona on November 16, for upgrades and is yet to emerge
  • Emirates Team New Zealand are repairing their AC40/LEQ20 after a violent nosedive on November 21. There is no date announced when it will begin sailing.

Session Statistics - Cagliari - November 27, 2022 - Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12

  • Wind Strength 16kts (AM) 8-9kts (PM)
  • Wind Direction: N-NW (AM) NW (PM)
  • Sea State: Slight (AM)
  • Roll out: 0600hrs Dock Out: 1100hrs
  • Dock In: 1700hrs Crane out: 1815hrs
  • Total Tacks: 0 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 2 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1

Crew: Jimmy Spithill, Ruggero Tita, Vittorio Bissaro, Umberto Molineris, Andrea Tesei, Marco Gradoni

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12 - Cagliari

Luna Rossa got away to an early start, taking a very careful approach with the rigging and stand-up of their repaired mast, damaged on November 6, when it was dropped from an upright position, due to a "simple mistake".

The mast has been fully repaired with steel tips and hooks at the top of the double-skin mainsail tracks and the damaged stern gantry restored.

Performance of portside foil was monitored with sensor, which as getting its first sailing test. The recon team reported top end boat speeds of approx 35 knots (RIB GPS) while bearing away with TWA 110-120 deg. That speed in the 9kt wind strength is very good, however not so great in a 16kt breeze that prevailed for the morning.

Images show the LEQ12 getting tow-ups before starting foiling runs - which underlines the inconsistency of the breeze inshore, and the LEQ12 tow-to-fly runs allowed the boat to foil on reach courses and find stronger wind puffs in the gulf.

The Italians had a mixed day with their foiling take-offs and manoeuvres. There were several non foiling tacks and gybes.

Luna Rossa interspersed the day with the use of two jibs, most likely trying to understand and get performance data on the crossovers. The mainsails were constant throughout the session:

  • J1 - larger size jib, hoisted several times with breeze around 8-10 knots, @ up 12:45 @ down 13:50, @ up 14:30 @ down 15:30
  • J2 - medium size jib, hoisted several times when breeze reached 14 and above knots, @ up 11:45 @ down 12:45, @ up 14:00 @ down 14:30

Session Statistics - Mallorca - November 27, 2022 - INEOS Britannia - LEQ12

This was the Brits second successive non-sailing day. The LEQ12 was boat wheeled out at 0900hrs, mast stepped and rig setup activities began.

Top sailing journalist Justin Chisholm observed the day's action:

  • The boat was rolled out 0900 and positioned in the opposite orientation to Day 3.
  • The mast was rolled out 0915 while the boat was being chocked and tape measures attached before it was levelled up using hydraulic jacks.
  • Between 1015 an 1025 the shore crew huddled in a briefing prior to stepping the mast.
  • By 1035 the mast was on the crane and over the boat, and by 1055 the stays were all attached.
  • A period of setup and testing using plumb lines, a laser and two theodolites took place prior to a lunch break at 1200.
  • In the afternoon a ‘Backstay’ was fitted comprising of split lines with hydraulic ram located at the bottom.
  • Hydraulic rams were also fitted to mid aft attachment points on either side that connected to the tracks at the aft ends of the decks.
  • At around 1350 there was a loud noise like something releasing under load. On deck there was lots of attention paid to bow area aft of stem. After a period of investigation the testing/setup procedure appeared to continue.
  • De-rigging began at 1430 and by 1506 the mast was in the air the on crane.
  • The mast touched down in its cradle at 1515.
During the day a large steel frame structure was brought out of the main shed and positioned behind the base. It looked, perhaps, like a rig load test bed as it had a central ball mast step, a Harken Performa winch, and two lateral attachment points (all facing horizontally). This setup was not used during the day.

The British team are going through a very rigorous setup process, the likes of which has not been seen before in recents America's Cups, aside from Emirates Team New Zealand, prior to the 2017 AC being said to have rolled their AC50 inside the base shed, with wingsail fully rigged to check rig tension changes and sail control adjustments, while being able to walk around the catamaran.

The Mercedes-AMG F1 design team who are design partners with the INEOS Britannia team, are used to dealing in a performance currency of tenths of a second, and work in an environment where gains of two or three tenths of a second are significant. The F1 and AC design teams are both working under the same roof in the Mercedes-AMG, and it is believed that is a permanent arrangement, and similar to the way the F1 design and racing teams operate in a season across 23 racing venues around the world.

It would seem that the UK-based design team is going to monitor the LEQ12 performance and testing in real-time, and to do this they need to be assured that their systems and the LEQ12 are calibrated accurately. They are also probably mindful of the well-publicised issues related to the development of their new F1 design, launched this year, which suffered badly from a phenomenon known as porpoising - which is not cute at 300kmh. INEOS Britannia suffered similar but different issues in the 2021 Prada Cup when they found out to their horror, a three weeks before start of the regatta that their AC75 would not foil as quickly as its competitors.

Quite how the speed hunt was conducted and by who, was never publicly revealed. However it is a fair bet that the Brackley Boffins were involved along with their considerable resources. As we know, they were able to conjure a solution which, to the horror of the bookies, won the Round Robin series for the British team - and they became the first to qualify for the Challenger Final.

So both groups have some collective monkeys they would like to have off their backs - and that is why they want this testing project to work, and give them some very accurate performance data from the LEQ12 platform for their AC75 raceboat design process.

Of course, all that depends on whether you believe raceboat design is an an art or a science. To date, in the arcane world of the America's Cup the evidence points to it being an art supported by the science, rather than the other way around.

Additional Images:

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