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Cup Spy Nov 29 : American Magic flies high.. Luna Rossa chased away by storm

by Richard Gladwell/ 29 Nov 2022 22:39 PST 30 November 2022
Aside from the finest of foil spray, American Magic is in fast flight - AC75 - November 22, 2022 - Pensacola, Fl © Paul Todd/America's Cup

Motorsport mogul Roger Penske drops in on American Magic, bringing a fresh breeze to Pensacola Bay. USA and Italy clock up big miles on the water in Pensacola and Cagliari, in a great day for the performance data collectors. Who will be the first to score a 100nm day?

What happened in the Cup - November 29, 2022:

  • American Magic had an excellent day at Pensacola topped off by a visit from motorsport mogul, and former 2021 AC backer, Roger Penske
  • Luna Rossa sailed their LEQ12 on the Gulf of Cagliari, for the second time after but only sailed for two hours ahead of an advancing rain storm
  • INEOS Britannia stayed in the shed in Barcelona
  • 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.

American Magic - AC75 - Pensacola

Session Statistics - Pensacola - November 29, 2022 - American Magic - AC75 V15

  • Wind Strength 7kts (AM) 18kts (PM)
  • Wind Direction: N (AM) E (PM)
  • Sea State: 1-2ft (AM)
  • Roll out: 0730hrs Dock Out: 0800hrs
  • Dock In: 1446hrs Crane out: 1515hrs
  • Total Tacks: 23 - Fully foiling: 20; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 34 - Fully foiling: 29; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 1

Crew: Paul Goodison, Tom Slingsby, Riley Gibbs, Andrew Campbell, Colton Hall, John Croom, Dan Morris, Lucas Calabrese, Terry Hutchinson

The New York Yacht Club's America's Cup team ventured out on the waters of Pensacola Bay, fresh from the excesses of Thanksgiving Weekend.

It was a day of two halves. The early part of the morning session was plagued by a light 7kt northerly wind, which swung 135 degrees and built to 18kts . President of Sailing Operations, Terry Hutchinson was on board for the session, before departing to head ashore for a meeting with motor racing legend, Roger Penske, one of the three substantial backers of the team's challenger at the 2021 America's Cup.

Whatever the subject of their discussions, it generated a good breeze afterwards - with the breeze swinging around from NW to East and kicking in at 18kts, the freshest conditions the team has experienced yet at Pensacola.

Tuesday also saw the return of one of the rockstars of sailing, Tom Slingsby (AUS), after three week absence. For the last couple of Cup cycles, he has been unable to raise the required interest in an America's Cup challenge in his own country, by virtue of holding a US passport via his mother, Slingsby also qualifies to sail for the USA. He competed for the US in the 2013 and 2017 America's Cups. Paul Goodison (GBR) one of the helmsmen on American Magic also qualifies to sail for the team via an exception in the 2024 event Protocol.

"Knowing that the last time we set foot in these conditions, it [Patriot] was quite a handful. So it was a good day," Hutchinson said with memories of the 2021 Prada Cup, obviously filed under "U" for "Unforgettable" in his memory-banks.

Patriot sailed a record 83nm over the course of the split session which comprised of 15 windward/leeward legs. Their tack/gybe stats were also impressive, only doing a solid connect with the water on one occasion in 57 manoeuvres.

The wind change and increase triggered a change down to the #3 jib for the final two and a half hours of the session, having been on the #2 jib for the previous hour, and starting the day on the #1 headsail running that sail for 30 minutes. There is no doubt that the day with its changes in conditions, would have provided some excellent performance data for the design boffins - and even better it would be clean of crew errors given the sail/gybe touchdown statistics.

The reconnaissance chase boat crew reported clocking the AC75 at 34kts upwind and 43kts downwind - again good comparative numbers, however the data on the AC75 itself would likely have been higher.

"In the second half of the day, we had a good cycler rotation. Sailing the boat, obviously up range, which is good to see Tom and Goodie [Paul Goodison] interacting in that regard as well. And knowing that the last time we set foot in these conditions, it was quite a handful. So it was a good day," Hutchinson concluded.

"We're still in a phase of learning the boat and, and integrating a new sailing team to it. Tom [Slingsby] is one of those."

"It's as much about learning how the boat handles and the mannerisms of the boat and introducing the cyclers into those conditions."

The US team, now on its second challenge, is using an AC75 Patriot from the 2021 Cup, and to an earlier version of the AC75 Class rule.

A lot of weight is presumed to have come out of the boat, as part of the Class Rule change - making it easier to foil and get foiling after a tack or gybe.

The crew which consists of some from the previous campaign, and a with a few like Slingsby who have never sailed AC75's outside of Pensacola.

A significant splashdown during the session, was dismissed by Hutchinson as being "no more complicated than just a little bit of a foil stall."

Hutchinson confirmed that the boat was sailing under cyclor created hydraulic pressure for the whole session. A battery change was required to power the raising and lowering of the foil arms.

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12 - Cagliari

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

  • Wind Strength 9-11kts (AM) 16kts (PM)
  • Wind Direction: N-NW (AM) NW (PM)
  • Sea State: Slight (AM)
  • Roll out: 0600hrs Dock Out: 0900hrs
  • Dock In: 1430hrs Crane out: 1500hrs
  • 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

The Italians sailed their second session since their mast repair. But even so, luck did not appear to be on the team's side - with the session being terminated prematurely after a rainy and gusty storm front forced the team to pack up their sails and head back to base at 1.00pm - just two hours of sailing.

Even so, the team clocked up another 45km in a consistent breeze, increasing from 9-11kts in the morning to 16kts before calling it a day after two hours of sailing.

The Italians sailed for the whole day on just the #2 jib.

Despite the high mileage - there were few maneuvers - just nine tacks and gybes with only two serious touchdowns - an indication that this day was one for the data collection team. Despite their stutter-start to their sailing program, it was a good effort for the fourth day of sailing by the Italians in their LEQ12 - 12 metre long) - a shorthand version of their next AC75.

They proved one of the positive aspects of the LEQ12 - its versatility - sailing with a crew of six sailors - just two short of the allowed eight on the AC75 to be used in the 2024 America's Cup.

"We have the opportunity with this prototype to keep more people on board and so we, when the conditions are fine, we're happy to take on board, more sailors to get used to it and to train," explained sail trimmer/flight controller Umberto Molineris. "This is also our training platform, but also one for the sailing team. So it's a good opportunity to have more people on board."

"We are still in early phase and we were going through a lot of of mods and improving the boat - so it's nice to start getting a bit more comfortable with the boat and we can really start to to properly sail the boat."

"It was the day was was a really really good day for us, " he added. "We put a few mods on the on the boat - while the boat was was in the shed. So was nice to go back and and check everything again."

"It was a really, good day for us and for the team," he re-iterated.

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