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Cup Spy - April 20: American Magic ventures into Gulf of Mexico

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 23 Apr 2023 04:06 PDT 23 April 2023
American Magic - AC40 - Day 24 - April 20, 2023 - Pensacola Bay © Paul Todd/America's Cup

What happened in the Cup - April 20, 2023:

  • American Magic was towed offshore to sail their AC40 in a 2-4ft swell and in moderate winds. The US team seemed to focus on getting a greater ratio of tacks in than gybes - doing three times the number of tacks to gybes. Their dry tack percentage was well down (75%), possibly due to in experience with the AC40 in this sea state.
  • Luna Rossa sailed from Cagliari, in a building breeze and very pleasant sailing conditions. The Italians were sailing with six crew, with the extra two crew probably having an impact on the LEQ12's ability to self-start its foiling, needing to be towed up on one occasion. But towards the end of the session the breeze came up to 18kts, with an accompanying sea-state, but there were no further issues.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand sailed for the third successive day in the seabreeze which has been blowing for a full week. There were no incidents reported. The waterfront gossip has it that the AC75 is hitting 55kts or more - maybe not surprising in the steady windstrength of 18kts plus. Whether that is a bearaway speed spike, or a steady sailing speed is not known. The AC75 is sailing with legacy (2021Cup) wingfoils and the speed at which these are cavitating, and indeed how ETNZ's test foils on their 40fter are behaving in this regard remains as one of the intriguing questions of the campaign to date.
  • INEOS Britannia sailed their 40ft test boat in a good breeze at the start of their session, getting some good rides, and staying foilborne for 50 minutes at one juncture. The breeze faded to 10kts later in the day bringing the session to an end.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailed their AC40 One Design out of Barcelona, again in a great sailing breeze, and were able to put in 33 tacks and gybes, and achieving a dry tack/gybe percentage of 94% which is the standard that top teams should be able to achieve in the One Designs.
  • No further news from the Orient Express Team (formerly K-Challenge).

American Magic - AC40 - Day 24 - April 20, 2023 - Pensacola

From the AC37 Joint Recon Team:

America craned in at 08:45, the pre dock out operations were completed, and the AC40 docked out at 10:00.

She was immediately towed 5nm offshore. The sea state consisted of an underlying 2-4ft swell with a period of 4 seconds with an overlaying confused chop. Today was the first time off-shore with the most recent revision of the starboard foil.

The crew opted for the J3 and sailing began at 10:58. For the first part of the day it was difficult for the chase boats to keep up.

Sailing during this time consisted of long phases on one board, until 11:30 when a particularly nasty bow stuff occurred. This crash down looked different as the elevator did not appear to cavitate, rather it looked as if the AC40 went through the wave (not into it).

The team switched out for the J2 and substituted Andrew Campbell (first time on helm per interview) for Riley Gibbs.

The wind decreased steadily throughout the day as the team switched to the J1 at 13:15. The batteries were changed at 13:15.

The breeze was down to around 7k for the remainder of the afternoon. The sea state greatly improved by around 14:00.

The crew continued with the long runs on one board until and end to sailing was called at 15:13.

In all, America completed 31 maneuvers, 5 W/L's, sailed approximately 57nm, and had a total flying time of 103 minutes.

Top speeds were approximately 24k upwind and 30k downwind.

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC40 - Day 24 - April 20, 2023 - Pensacola

  • Weather: Sunny 80 degrees F
  • Wind Strength 9kts-14kts
  • Wind Direction: SE
  • Sea State: 2-4ft Swell
  • Roll out: 0845hrs Dock Out: 1000hrs
  • Dock In: 1600hrs Crane out: 1630hrs
  • Total Tacks: 24 - Fully foiling: 17; Touch & Go: 6; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 7 - Fully foiling: 6; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1
  • Dry Tack/Gybe percentage = 74%

Crew: Paul Goodison, Riley Gibbs, Lucas Calabrese, Michael Menninger, Andrew Campbell

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12 - Day 52 - April 20, 2023 - Cagliari

From the AC37 Joint Recon Team - Michele Melis:

The LRPP team rolled out their LEQ12 prototype at 11:30, stepped the mast and craned in undergoing the usual protocol checks before dockout again scheduled for 13:00.

The southerly seabreeze had already filled in in the harbour when the usual FCS, rudder rake and sail controls were being tested. Exiting the harbour the team found steady southerly seabreeze of 12-14 kts according to the AC37 Joint Recon Team (RU) anemometer held 2m above waterline.

The sea state condition seemed quite interesting in terms of AC venue comparison, with longer period swell 6-7s and 1.5m height from SE hence slightly offsetted to TWS direction at the beginning of the sailing session.

The main M2 had been locked in the mast fitting and once fully hoisted, it has been paired again with the J2 jib.

Similar to previous days, throughout the sailing session, the LEQ12 was boarded with six crews including two engineers and a youth sailor later on. With a tow-to-fly by Chase 2, the prototype was foiling on port tack before falling off the foils - exiting the first tack hitting a wave crest. Then, by help of a first light pull by Chase 2 to gain initial boat speed, the LEQ12 self took off on starboard tack.

The sailing pattern of the previous sailing day was again noted by AC37 Joint Recon team as the prototype tacked back on portside tack, sailed straight line for a while before bearing away and heading downwind.

This routine was observed twice before, once splashing down after a gybe. The J2 was lowered to hoist the smaller J4. The wind had increased to 16-18kn and now shifted to SE matching the swell direction which has also increased in magnitude. Once up and flying performing a self take-off on a reaching course skimming on waves, the LEQ12 headed slightly offshore before bearing away towards the harbour to lower the J4 and call it a day.

As it was quite challenging to keep up for all chase boats, the RU was placed anticipating the prototypes course for steadier footage. An approx total foiling time of 67 minutes, 5 tacks and 3 gybes were counted.

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12 - Day 52 - April 20, 2023 - Cagliari

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