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Cup Spy Dec 15/16: Emirates Team NZ back on water..American Magic and Italians sail, too

by Richard Gladwell/ 16 Dec 2022 04:53 PST 17 December 2022
Emirates Team New Zealand - Waitemata Harbour - Auckland - December 16, 2022 © Richard Gladwell /

What happened in the Cup - Dec 15/16, 2022:

  • American Magic sailed in a three and a half hour on Pensacola Bay in flat waters and breezes of just 7-8kts. Sailing Director, Terry Hutchinson disclosed that the cause of yesterday's capsize was a plastic bag around the rudder elevator.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand ventured out on what proved to be a stunning day sailed for a several hours in their newly liveried LEQ12 - having been off the water for almost a month since a catastrophic nosedive on November 21.
  • Luna Rossa sailed from their base in Cagliari, they suffered some damage to the port foil arm, when a fairing let go exposing several control cables.
  • INEOS Britannia remained 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 - LEQ12 - Auckland

Emirates Team New Zealand were back on the Waitemata Harbour and Inner Hauraki Gulf for their first sail since the catastrophic nosedive, almost a month ago, on November 17. The reality of their misfortune is that with Auckland's winter that will never leave, they may, in reality only lost a handful of sailing days.

Today was a day of a warm building seabreeze, that was well around to the north.

Maybe it was the harbinger of the summer sailing season to come and plenty more days like this.

It didn't take long for a few of the regular group of America's Cup tragics, armed with a variety of devices to drift around the base of North Head, and take in the afternoon's floorshow. Our weapons consisted of a 600mm lens, and a 14x pair of stabilised binoculars, which were very impressive in the bright light.

Today's cast consisted of ETNZ's newly repaired AC40, converted into a LEQ12 development boat and dressed in a new livery; a couple of team tenders; with the orange recon boat making up the cast of four.

Initially the breeze was very light in the harbour, with big calm patches and defined patches of breeze. Somehow the LEQ12 got foiling, and stayed up, without the need of a tow rope, or crew hiking out. That alone was an impressive performance, as there was no wind to speak of. To underline the point, a few ILCA6's were out training and using every one of their light air techniques to make progress, while the LEQ12 flew past at over 20kts.

The LEQ12 made several long runs around the America's Cup Courses C off North Head, Course B in the Rangitoto Channel and Course A out beyond Rangitoto Light, and off Takapuna Beach.

There was the occasional stop, with a crew member going up to the top of the mast a couple of times, without appearing to compromise the stability of the boat.

The LEQ12 looked very light on its foils, tacks and gybes were executed very quickly, there was the occasional faux pas - and indicator more that the LEQ12 was on manual flight control, for at least part of the time, than running on autopilot. However it was nothing serious, and had these happened in a race there would have been little consequence.

As well as the new livery, which has quite a magical appearance and when the light is bright, appears to come alive, the LEQ12 had a new suit of sails - and it will be interesting to see what development happens in this area. Will the Batwing main make a return to be tested in the top end of the windrange? They do have one from the AC75, which only saw action on one practice day.

Burling and Outteridge were throwing the LEQ12 around more than they would a 49er - with the self tacking jib and boomless mainsail making for easy turning. The key on a day like today, is to retain your apparent wind and power, foil borne, out the other side of the tack.

Because of the AC40's deep forefoot there is the occasional kiss of the Waitemata, but it is a mere bagatelle.

An image released by ETNZ this afternoon, shows the team's two AC40's, with the AC40-OD seemingly close to being finished and ready to start commissioning. What happens from here will be followed with interest.

Of course, the elephant in the room is the Barcelona cross-swell, but that is a challenge for another day.

Session Statistics - Auckland - December 16, 2022 - Emirates Team New Zealand - AC40/LEQ12

  • Wind Strength 0-5kts(AM) 5-10kts (PM)
  • Wind Direction: NNW(AM) NNW (PM)
  • Sea State: Small wind waves (PM)
  • Roll out: 1145hrs Dock Out: 1300hrs
  • Dock In: 1630hrs Crane out: 1715hrs
  • Total Tacks: 14 - Fully foiling: 12; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 27 - Fully foiling: 25; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 1

Crew: Peter Burling, Nathan Outteridge (Helms); Andy Maloney, Blair Tuke (Trimmers)

American Magic - AC75 Version 2 - Pensacola - December 15, 2022 - Day 24

At the start of today's interview with the AC37 Recon Team, Terry Hutchinson, President of Sailing Operations, New York Yacht Club, American Magic, set the record straight about the cause of the previous day's capsize - which was caused very much by a First World problem.

"When we talked about the capsize yesterday, we knew we hit some debris," he said, "and I think I'd speculated a bit that it was wood - based on the amount that we'd all been pulling out of the water over the last month and a half."

"But after a closer look, we had hooked up plastic bag around the rudder elevator. That caused the boat to do a hard right-hand turn and roll into a capsize."

"The good news is we didn't do any damage to the foil."

"It was good to physically see the plastic bag roll off the rudder elevator," he added.

Patriot was again sailing in the confines of Pensacola Bay covering approximately 44nm, comprised of 15 Windward/Leeward legs.

The New York Yacht Club's team, who have spent the most time on the water of any of the five teams entered in the 37th America's Cup, began sailing around 1330hrs, completed almost 50 maneuvers, and finished sailing three hours later at around 1630hrs.

There is a discrepancy in the wind strength which was recorded at 7kts on the daily log and then quoted at 14kts. No big deal, but it is a point worth remembering when talking about performance numbers and stats. In the individual readings taken by the recon team the breeze was recorded at a top end of 12 kts. More prescient is the point that the breeze was gusty for the majority of the day.

The Recon team logged Patriot as doing water starts 16 times and getting onto her foils unassisted, on each occasion.

The flight times were relatively short with the longest being 12 minutes, and with a total flight time of 72 minutes. American Magic used their J#1 for 20 minutes at the start of the session, replacing it with J#2 for 45 minutes, before changing back to the J#1 for the remaining 90 minutes of the session.

The top boat speeds measured on the recon team boat were 31kts upwind and 37kts downwind.

Those performance stats are about what would be expected from a boat like Patriot, and an experienced team in these sort of breezes, funky may they be.

In the interview, the recon crew noted that the flight times were not as good as previous days.

Hutchinson, who was on board Patriot today attributed this occurrence to multiple systems being wet from yesterday's capsize.

"Today it was a good day. We were a bit later off the dock just sorting through the water issues on the starboard side of the yacht from yesterday.

"As you know, electronics and water don't really mesh all that well together. So, the guys did nice work yesterday evening in the shed, getting us back out today.

Responding to a statement that "it looked a little less smooth than it normally does. Was anything different, today?"

"I think what you saw today was a bit of system development," Hutchinson, who is now on his sixth America's Cup campaign, responded.

"Also, the fact that the boat was wet, and a lot of the things were not working perfectly."

"Some of the systems weren't operating to the standard that we'd seen over the previous couple of days. Some of that's water ingress, and some of it's just the learning process as well of things that we're trying."

Session Statistics - Pensacola - December 15, 2022 - American Magic - AC75 V1.5
  • Wind Strength 8 kts (AM) 7kts (PM)
  • Wind Direction: NW (AM) W (PM)
  • Sea State: 1ft (AM) 1ft(PM)
  • Roll out: 1115hrs Dock Out: 1300hrs
  • Dock In: 1640hrs Crane out: 1710hrs
  • Total Tacks: 20 - Fully foiling: 10; Touch & Go: 4; Touch Down: 6
  • Total Gybes: 19 - Fully foiling: 16; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 2

Crew: Tom Slingsby, Paul Goodison, Terry Hutchinson, Dan Morris, Riley Gibbs, Andrew Campbell, Colton Hall, Madison, Ethan, Taylor, Tim.

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.

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, December 16, 2022, Cagliari, Sardinia

It has shorter than expected day for the Luna Rossa Parda Pirelli team, marred by a foil arm fairing cover breaking loose.

The LEQ12 splashed down at the dock at 9:10am. Soon after a RIB was observed to leave the dock in order to check the wind conditions in the gulf and eventually position some buoy marks.

The forecast for the day was for a useful and steady breeze. Instead the conditions were light and patchy with a thick cloudy sky.

On the dock some different routine checks were been observed by the AC37 Recon Team including structural tests employing a hydraulic cylinder between a rope along mast and the forestay attachment.

This was all under the severe supervision of structural engineer and the design coordinator both checking their screens.

The team docked out at 10:30 and headed south toward la Sella del Diavolo (Devil's Saddle) to hoist sails and hit the SSW puffs of max 9-10kn.

In this strength of wind it was surprising that a RIB towed up the prototype which started sailing.

An issue on the port foil, when a cover broke free exposing several control lines, which require a repair before the session could continue.

The on the water team noted that an incoming front from the mountains of Capoterra, which stopped the sailing day. The team elected to tow the LEQ12 back to the base in displacement mode.

Session Statistics - Cagliari - December 16, 2022 - Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12

  • Wind Strength 7-9kts (AM)
  • Wind Direction: SSW (AM)
  • Sea State: (AM) 0.5 swell SE
  • Roll out: 0800hrs Dock Out: 1030hrs
  • Dock In: 1240hrs
  • Total Tacks: 3 - Fully foiling: 4; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 1 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1

Crew: Francesco Bruni (helm), Umberto Molineris, Andrea Tesei, Marco Gradoni (helm)

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.

Additional Images:

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