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Cup Spy Mar 7: Alinghi Red Bull Racing hits 50kts reports Recon Team

by Complied by Richard Gladwell/ 8 Mar 02:18 PST 8 March 2023
AC75 - Alinghi Red Bull Racing - March 7, 2023 - Barcelona - Day 48 © Alex Carabi / America's Cup

Alinghi Red Bull Racing were the only team reported to have sailed this day. The spy team from the AC37 Joint Recon program reports that the Swiss team hit 50kts, sailing in flat water and winds up to 16kts off Barcelona.

What happened in the Cup - March 7, 2023:

  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing was the only team to sail on this day.
  • American Magic did not sail their AC-40. Their AC75 was decommissioned on February 4, after 44 days.
  • Luna Rossa did not sail.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand did not sail, and are not expected to do so until after the conclusion of SailGP in Christchurch in 10 days.
  • INEOS Britannia did not sail their AC40. No update yet on their repairs to their test boat T6 after it capsized and had a lithium battery fire.
  • No further news from the Orient Express Team (formerly K-Challenge).

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Barcelona - March 7, 2023 - Day 48

In today's images from the Recon File System (RFS) we get a better view of how the Alinghi Red Bull Racing design team have approached the location of the crew.

In the top of story shot and the one immediately below, we get a bow-on and side view.

The Swiss team have opted to try and sail with no crew movement across the boat, and with the eight person crew split into two groups of four.

In the last Cup, on every boat except Luna Rossa, the crew changed sides each tack. On Luna Rossa they all changed sides except for the two co-helmsmen Jimmy Spithill (starboard) and Francesco Bruni (port helmsman). This setup enabled Spithill to be the primary starting helmsman, and for Bruni to have a good feel for the pressure and wind angle going into the vital first tack after the start.

The Swiss team haven't disclosed how the duties are split. There are several options, remembering that the team on the leeward side can still make a contribution to the sailing of the boat.

From comments made by other teams, they feel that the jib is best trimmed from leeward, which means that in the Alinghi Red Bull Racing configuration the crew member in the outboard/forward/windward pit can handle flight control - given that in previous Cups, several crew have had access to various functions beyond the crew member with the primary responsibility. For instance in the 2017 Cup NZ's Blair Tuke provided pedal power as well as being the primary flight controller. The helmsman also had access to the flight control system. In the same series, Oracle Racing's Tom Slingsby provided cycle power downwind, as well as doing tactics/strategy from the so-called "hybrid" cycling position.

Whether they need four cyclists providing hydraulic pressure - is a priority question the Swiss team will be looking to answer. From the answers given in the interview, it would seem that in the interim they have some electric power available as a safety measure - which is not permitted in the Cup. From interviews with American Magic team members, they were confident of their ability to provide all the required power to pressurise the hydraulic system without use of electrical backup.

As the only team to have used cycle power to pressurise hydraulic systems in an America's Cup, the Defender and joint rule-maker for the initial drafts of the Protocol and Version 2 of the AC75 Class Rule, ETNZ would have plenty of data on the power produced by cyclists in an America's Cup racing situation. With that data, it is hard to believe that with its formidable simulation and design resources that the team would have drafted a design/class rule that limited the number of cyclors and knowing that they were unable to satisfy the AC75's power requirements, with adequate safety margins.

Remembering too, that in the 2013 and 2017 America's Cups the team had two significant incidents when they were caught with inadequate hydraulic pressure at key moments. In 2013 it arguably cost the Kiwis one race, and in 2017 they hung on to win by a 1 second in a key race in the Challenger Final.

A key reason for using cyclors/ists is that foot driven pedal power, frees up the hands of the crew allowing them to cover other sailing functions. Interestingly the Swiss are using the same number of cyclists (four) as the Kiwis could tap into for their 2017 America's Cup Challenger - in a boat that had no rope sheets, and was completely controlled by hydraulics activated through buttons in control panels, or gameboy type devices.

From the AC37 Joint Recon team:

Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out their AC75 at 09:30, stepped the mast and craned in. With the forecast showing a stronger than usual Garbi South West afternoon thermal wind, and flatter than usual sea, the team prepared the M2-2L Mainsail on the yacht before docking out and hoisting in the port.

The yacht was towed just outside of the port, where the jib was raised and sailing commenced at 13:15.

The team started with an upwind/downwind warm up, stopping after an hour to adjust the jib clewboard. A short five minute stretch was sailed before stopping for lunch during a lull in the wind.

By 15:00, the wind increased again and the team went for a tack and bear-away to sail North on a long downwind leg. ARBR performed 10 foiling gybes, touching down once, before reaching Masnou.

The wind increased to 16 knots and the team started the final upwind leg of the session, tacking four times in 20 minutes. The main and jib were dropped outside the port entrance and the team headed back to base.

The AC40 was rolled out just as the AC75 docked out. The boat was prepared for spraying, though it is not clear exactly what work was done.

Over a period of four hours on the water, the team covered around 50 Nautical Miles, reaching speeds just shy of 50 knots.

Today was one of the first times in a while that the AC75 has been sailed in strong breeze and flatter sea. The improvement in consistency on foils is noticeable.

Session Statistics - Barcelona, Spain - March 7, 2023 - Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 48

  • Wind Strength: 10-16kts
  • Wind Direction: SSW
  • Weather: Sunny 13 degreesC
  • Sea State: Slight
  • Roll out: 0955hrs Dock Out: 1215hrs
  • Dock In: 1635hrs Crane out: 1710hrs
  • Total Tacks: 9; Fully foiling: 3; Touch & Go: 4; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 16; Fully foiling: 10; Touch & Go: 4; Touch Down: 2
  • Crew: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Yves Detrey, Bryan Mettraux, Nils Theuninck, Arthur Cevey, Nico Stahlberg, Augustin Maillefer

    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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