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Cup Spy Dec 2 : Luna Rossa caught in storm .. American Magic flies for 75nm

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-world.com/nz 3 Dec 2022 03:33 PST 3 December 2022
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12 - December 2, 2022 - Cagliari, Sardinia © Ivo Rovira / America'sCup

What happened in the Cup - Dec 2, 2022:

  • Luna Rossa sailed their LEQ12 on the Gulf of Cagliari, starting in a calm and capsizing when the winds increased to 21-22kts and they called off the sailing session.
  • American Magic stayed sailed from Pensacola in a 9-12kt breeze – clocking up 75nm, and hitting speeds in the 30-40kt mark.
  • 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.
  • There has been no final decision on the issue of INEOS Britannia’s Instrumentation Pole, which is claimed by others to be a Mast Tube.

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, the Italian America's Cup challenger capsized in 21-22kts winds after being caught in a rapidly building breeze and sea state.

The team towed out with a 5kt NW breeze, and set up during the subsequent calm with a J#1, the biggest jib. That sail quickly came down and was swapped out for the J#4 when the breeze hit 18kts, with a sea state of 0.7metres from the ESE – which CEO Max Sirena later said was about the maximum for the 38ft LEQ12.

Following the initial take-off , the LEQ12 came up on a beam reach course, according to the AC37 Joint Recon team. After doing their first and only successful tack it touched down, bearing away slightly afterwards but the boat speed dropped and the LEQ12 capsized slowly.

The righting of the LEQ12 happened quickly, but the wind continued to increase, along with the sea-state and the team decided to call it a day. “We went out knowing that the breeze was coming at some stage. But we didn't expect such a big and quick build,“ explained CEO Max Sirena. “So we went out with J#1 just for fun - mainly because there was no wind at all. “When we dropped the J#1 we went straight to the J#4 because we were reading over18 knots on the tender.

“When we started setting up we had an average of 18kts. We did a few tacks upwind, and then we decided it was better to come close to shore to try to find a little bit less swell. We did bear off in over 20 knots of breeze, which went fine.

“With a such a small boat and when it's so wavy, with this wind direction, it is getting bumpy pretty quickly. You know as well if you slow down too much there's a chance you could flip over - which is part of the game.

“We righted the boat back up pretty quickly and the plan was to keep sailing. But then the breeze was averaging over 21-22 knots for over five minutes, and we decided to drop the sail mainly for the waves not for the wind.

"On reflection, we had a pretty solid week after the damage we did to the mast and every day we spend, every minute we spend, on the water is a lesson taken."

Luna Rossa suffered no further damage in the incident and Sirena says they could have kept on sailing – which was their original plan.

But after conferring with Jimmy Spithill and Ruggero Tita they decided they were at risk of broaching again if they slowed down in that sea-state.

Sirena was asked about the sailing numbers on board the LEQ12, which can vary from four to six sailors. “The plan says they want to go with more ballast - basically more righting moment - and we're going to keep playing that until the end. “We're going to see the big guys start jumping on board to get used to the speed. These boats are fast we have hit over 44kts, so it's good fun.”

“We know that in up to .7 or .8 metres of swell and above it is survival mode. Upwind is not a problem. But downwind obviously because you're going faster you sail lower, and it's easier to lose the control - but again, it's part of the game.”

Session Statistics - Cagliari - December 2, 2022 - Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12

  • Wind Strength 5-6kts (AM) 16-21kts (PM)
  • Wind Direction: NW (AM) E (PM)
  • Sea State: (AM) 0.7m ESE
  • Roll out: 0930hrs Dock Out: 1200hrs
  • Dock In: Crane out: 1520hrs
  • Total Tacks: 1 - Fully foiling: 1; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 0 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

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

American Magic looked like they were running around on rails, putting in a hefty 75nm and foiling for a total of 2hrs 43 minutes. Given that an America’s Cup race lasts 25-30 minutes, the US team sailed a total of five Cup races in a single day.

At the start of the day the breeze was 11kts but faded to 9kts, with about 1ft seas – making for near perfect foiling conditions, and a great opportunity for performance data gathering.

The AC75 with 2008 and 2012 Olympic Gold medalists Paul Goodison and Tom Slingsby co-helming, had the AC75 sailing at over 3x windspeed upwind and 4x windspeed downwind. Those are good numbers and are very comparable with what was recorded in the last America's Cup.

One foiling stint lasted 50 minutes – in the video and still images the US Challenger, looked very comfortable sailing their 2021 generation boat which has been upgraded to the new Version 2 of the AC75 class rule, which will be used in the 2024 America’s Cup.

The team took six jibs out in their tender, and flew four of them. Three of those were J#2 jibs – probably the ideal sail for the day, but a J#3 was also hoisted for about 40minutes when the breeze was about 11kts – and was out of its range.

Part of the Patriot upgrade was the installation of cyclists to provide pressure for the hydraulic system, and today’s session answered the question as to whether they could last the distance, and more importantly if they could provide sufficient power to meet the AS75’s sailing needs.

American Magic's tack and gybe statistics were also very good, doing over 40 maneuvers, and doing "touch and goes" and just four, and with no full landings. But again in these ideal conditions, those are the stats that would be expected. However that many manoeuvres ask some real questions of the cyclists, and their ability to power the AC75.

“We had a really good day, we had a, we sailed a lot of miles. And mostly I'd say like 7 - 12 knots, and then it kind of died a little bit more, but we got a lot of laps in. We had a full rotation of cyclists, and so got a lot of people on the boat today. And you know, it's great day for us,” was sail trimmer and occasional flight controller Mike Menninger’s summary of the day.

“At this stage our focus is on time spent sailing, and foiling, and getting, the new people into their positions, and getting time in those roles. But also we’re getting a sense of how we can control the boat for these longer periods of time with the cyclists,” he said in the dockside interview after the session.

“We’re also trying to understand their power outputs, and trying to manage that, as they are learning,” said the former Match Racing World Champion, Team Racing World Champion and Etchells World Champion. Menninger was former helmsman of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup and has sailed with 11th Hour Racing Team aboard the Imoca 60 for a Trans Atlantic crossing

Keeping the AC75 foiling for long durations requires good coordination between the flight controller, the helmsman and, the sail controller, he said. “There's a lot of coordination to keep the platform stable and, and keep the boat speed high to keep it foiling.”

“For the new guys it’s just getting up to speed, and trying to normalize the feeling of sailing the AC 75. We do a good job debriefing everything and keeping people up to speed. I think we're progressing well.”

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

  • Wind Strength 11kts (AM) 9kts (PM)
  • Wind Direction: E(AM) E (PM)
  • Sea State: <1ft (AM) <1ft (PM)
  • Roll out: 0855hrs Dock Out: 1027hrs
  • Dock In: 1400hrs Crane out: 1630hrs
  • Total Tacks: 25 - Fully foiling: 22; Touch & Go:3; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 20 - Fully foiling: 19; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0

    Crew: Paul Goodison, Tom Slingsby, Andrew Campbell/Michael Menninger, Lucas Calabrese, Colton Hall,John Croom, Trevor Burd, Dan Morris, Terry Hutchinson were observed in various positions

    Additional Images:

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