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Cup Spy Dec 9: American Magic runs out of daylight, as Brits battle with Rules

by Richard Gladwell/ 10 Dec 2022 00:22 PST 10 December 2022
Patriot - AC75 - December 8, 2022 - Pensacola, Fl © Paul Todd/America's Cup

What happened in the Cup - Dec 8/9, 2022:

American Magic, in their upgraded AC75 Patriot, was the only team to sail/tow on Thursday/Friday, December 8/9. The Brit's saga over the legality of their Instrumentation Pole continues into the third round of submission.

  • American Magic were the only team to sail in a 90-minute session in flat water on Pensacola Bay
  • INEOS Britannia remained ashore and is not expected to make another appearance until Sunday or Monday.
  • Luna Rossa stayed ashore.
  • 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.
  • Another round of submissions has started on the British team's Instrumentation Pole/Towing Post.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand announced that it was close to making an official attempt at the World wind-powered land speed record at Lake Gairdner, South Australia. Forecasts from Predictwind indicate that there should be the best window of breeze 25-29kts on Sunday afternoon, and for several days in the following week, with lesser wind on a smaller time window.

American Magic - AC75 Version 2 - Pensacola - December 8, 2022 - Day 22

According to the AC37 Joint Recon team based in Pensacola, despite light winds, American Magic's Patriot sailed approximately 35nm, comprised of four windward/leeward and reaching legs.

The team waited for the fog to lift and for the sea breeze to fill in before leaving the dock at 1440. The breeze started at 3kts in the morning and increased to 6kts in the afternoon - below the 6.5kt rolling lower limit for racing to start in the America's Cup.

The light breeze was insufficient for the AC75 to self-start, but there were ten tow-starts. Patriot sailed for 90 minutes and completed 23 manoeuvres for a 74% dry tack/gybe rate, which is excellent in the light winds. The longest flying time was 29min. According to the GPS on the Recon boat, the boat speeds were approximately 26kts upwind/ 32kts downwind. Those speeds at 4 or 5 times windspeed are unusually high multiples of the reported 6kts windspeed measured at just over 2 metres above sea level. It may be that Patriot was the beneficiary of wind-sheer or similar.

In the circumstances, a high dry tack gybe percentage is difficult to achieve. The apparent wind can drop significantly in the manoeuvre - not having much effect in the turn itself - but in the next 100-150 metres as the yacht struggles to rebuild apparent windspeed, or they become a victim of their own turbulence created on the previous tack/gybe.

Patriot was on foils for a combined total of approximately 57 minutes. Flight times ranged from 3 minutes to 29 minutes. Only one J#1 jib was used during the session.

"We started the day, just waiting had a lot of fog and not much wind," explained Dan Morris, a Sail Trimmer with American Magic. "We finally got off the dock, maybe 2.30 pm and got into it, making the most of the light airs`and we had productive session."

"There's always something specific to sort out. There's a huge list ongoing - and it gets longer every day. But if you can get out for an hour and sign off a few of those items - it's a win."

American Magic have put in the most sailing hours of any team to date in the 2024 Cup cycle.

"And we're still working on the running lights. So hopefully, next week, we'll get to do some night sails. But this week, we're still stopping in daylight," Morris grinned.

Session Statistics - Pensacola - December 8, 2022 - American Magic - AC75 V1.5

  • Wind Strength 3kts (AM) 6kts (PM)
  • Wind Direction: N (AM) S (PM)
  • Sea State: <1ft(AM) <1ft (PM)
  • Roll out: 1115hrs Dock Out: 1440hrs
  • Dock In: 1630hrs Crane out: 1700hrs
  • Total Tacks: 12 - Fully foiling: 9; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 11 - Fully foiling: 8; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 3

Crew: Tom Slingsby, Paul Goodison, Andrew Campbell, Colton Hall, Trevor Burd, Riley Gibbs, Dan Morris, Lucas Calabrese

Attempts to legalise the use of a Towing Post by the British team have continued.

A team (one assumes the British) has put forward an elegant solution intended to make it much more clear whether AC75 and LEQ12 custom parts fall within the definition of a Component, and are limited by number allowed for use in a race (AC75) or prototype (LEQ12) boat.

The issue causing the concern, outside of the legality of the Brits Towing Post, the scope needs to be tightened for classification of components which may fall foul of the Rules Committee's intention to determine resemblance "on a case-by-case basis".

All submissions are anonymous, while the other teams have concurred with the Rules Committee, one team has come up with a detailed proposal which covers not just the Mast Tube but defines eight additional components. The new proposed text has the effect of tightening the rule definition, making it more apparent to the teams as to what is permitted and should avoid, to a large extent, reference to the Rules Committee to determine legality.

The risk with the current situation, regarding numbers and types and derivations of eight specified components is that all is well, until a team takes exception and finds a way to refer the matter to the Arbitration Panel, either just before or during the racing, triggering a fractious boil-over, with the attendant risk of points penalties.

Under the proposed rule a Mast Tube has to have the ability to "transfer aerodynamic loads generated by the mainsail and/or jib skins to the hull".

And Sails must have the ability to "generate aerodynamic load and transfer it to the mast tube".

Viewed in isolation the current issue with the legality or otherwise of the Towing or Instrumentation Pole, is very small in terms of its repercussions for the event, but that may not be the case closer to the event, as happened in 2013 at the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup, when Emirates Team NZ won a case heard by the Int Jury that a safety ruling by the Regatta Director, was effectively changing a class rule.

The proposed text can be read here:

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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