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Zhik 2023 September Seaboot 700 LEADERBOARD

Cup Spy - May 18: Three Challengers train in the Mediterranean

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World NZ 19 May 20:44 PDT 20 May 2023
With its rudder elevator breaking clear of the water,Alinghi Red Bull Racing is headed for a certain nosedive - AC40 - Day 26 - May 18, 2023 - Barcelona © Alex Carabi / America's Cup

What happened in the Cup - May 18, 2023:

Three of the Challengers sailed AC40s and LEQ12s from Cagliari (Luna Rossa), Mallorca (INEOS Britannia) and Barcelona (Alinghi Red Bull Racing). The Final phase of the Swiss session was cut short the session after a minor injury to a crew member.

  • Luna Rossa sailed their LEQ12 from Cagliari their 58th day of sailing in this custom designed LEQ12.The winds started light, but cracked up to 13-15kts later in the session, with the Italians changing down a jib, and increasing the onboard crew from four sailors to six.
  • INEOS Britannia sailed their LEQ12 test boat T6 on their 50th day of sailing in the custom design LEQ12. Generally the Brits had a good day, hitting speeds of over 45kts.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailed their AC40-4. It is their 26th day of sailing in this boat. They sailed with a new mainsail design, and also managed to nosedive, causing a minor injury to one of the crew. There are more images of the new wingfoil - the "tubercle" - which aid the maneuverability of the AC40.
  • American Magic has ceased sailing pending a move to Barcelona with their AC75 and AC-40. No update on their Arbitration Panel case seeking exemption from competition in Preliminary Regatta 2 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on safety grounds.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand did not sail - winter has come early in Auckland.
  • No further news from the Orient Express Team (formerly K-Challenge).

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12 - Day 58 - May 18, 2023 - Cagliari

Luna Rossa sailed their LEQ12 from Cagliari their 58th day of sailing in this custom designed LEQ12.The winds started light, but cracked up to 13-15kts later in the session, with the Italians changing down a jib, and increasing the onboard crew from four sailors to six.

In the interview below, just arrived coach Hamish Wilcox (NZL) talks mainly about the weather from today - against the predictive models and the signs the team looked at on the water, to verify the forecast, or change their expectations.

From the AC37 Joint Recon Team - Michele Melis:

The Italian LEQ12 was rolled out at 11:00 and quickly began the shore crew with the mast stepping procedure. The LEQ12 touched the water 20 minutes later and the usual routine checks followed as dockout was scheduled at 1315hrs. The forecast looked quite tricky with several rain systems distributed around the gulf and the seabreeze struggling to fill in steadily. When the LEQ12 was towed out towards Sarroch to fully hoist M1+J1 sails, the seabreeze did not exceeded 7-8 kn SSE.

Once all set, the prototype was towed to foil by Chase-2, had less than a minute ride and fell from foils exiting a tack. In the next 30 minutes, additional to some straight line testing, some "light air style" gybes and tacks have been observed. As the sky lighted up slightly, the seabreeze increased to 13-15kn SSE and the team lowered the J1 to hoist the J2.

In stronger air the LEQ12 was boarded by six crew members while only four were on board in lighter conditions. Similar as the previous sailing day, the team seemed to test some foiling modes in addition to some two-boards time dropping and raising the windward board heading downwind. The team added on the "To do" list also three legs around some marks and one pre start practice before the wind dropped over the laid course and LEQ12 came to a stop at the windward mark.

The J2 foresail was lowered to hoist the J1.5 and the LEQ12 sailed south of the windward mark, just between some anchored container ship executing some maneuvers in 7-9 kts seabreeze. Each time the LEQ12 was back in displacement mode exiting a maneuver, and Chase-2 relaunched the prototype on tow line. As the breeze dropped further, the prototype was towed to the race course and sails were lowered with an approximate foiling time of 82 minutes, 15 tacks and 12 gybes. [Michele Melis AC Recon].

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12 - Day 58 - May 18, 2023 - Cagliari

  • Weather: Cloudy 17-19°C Cloudy, Rainy
  • Wind Strength 8-15kts
  • Wind Direction: SSE
  • Sea State:
  • Roll out: 1100hrs Roll back: 1325hrs
  • Dock In: 1630hrs Crane out: 1800hrs
  • Total Tacks: 15 - Fully foiling: 8; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 4
  • Total Gybes: 11 - Fully foiling: 5; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 3

Crew:Francesco Bruni, Jimmy Spithill, Marco Gradoni, Andrea Tesei, Umberto Molineris, Vittorio Bissaro

INEOS Britannia - LEQ12 - Day 50 - May 18, 2023 - Mallorca

Top sailing journalist Justin Chisholm was on the water and made various observations on the British boat:

INEOS Britannia chalked up another valuable day of testing and training on Palma Bay – the team's third sailing day this week. With the normal thermal southerly breeze replaced today by a north east gradient wind blowing off the land the sea state was dramatically flatter than the previous day's steep chop.

However, the fact that the breeze was coming off the land also meant it was particularly shifty and gusty – a combination that looked to be making life difficult for the British crew trying to keep their T6 LEQ12 test boat in stable flight.

After docking out at 1141hrs, the crew – helmsmen Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott with trimmers/flight controllers Bleddyn Mon and Leigh McMillan, along with fifth man observer Luke Parkinson on the starboard side at the back – had the M1-2 mainsail and the J4-1 headsail up by the time the clocks in nearby Palma were chiming midday.

Other than one brief stop for a momentary onboard adjustment the first sailing session saw the boat in flight for an hour and twenty minutes as the crew scorched around windward/leeward laps of the bay at upwind speeds in the low 30kt range and downwind over 45kts.

After a stop at 1340hrs for fresh batteries the crew launched into more of the same activity during a second 40 minute session.

The third and final session of the day saw the crew doing fast practice laps around a windward leeward racecourse made up of a windward mark and a two-mark leeward gate. With the wind becoming increasingly shifty/gusty as well patchy there were a few failed gybes and tacks over this session, but in the main the tacks and gybes were smooth and the mark roundings fast and accurate.

Time was called on the day at 1515hrs with the team docking in at 1545hrs.

Session Statistics: INEOS Britannia - LEQ12 - Day 50 - May 18, 2023 - Mallorca

  • Weather: Sunny 15° - 20° C
  • Wind Strength 10-14kts Flat sea
  • Wind Direction: 060°
  • Roll out: 1010hrs Dock Out: 1141hrs
  • Dock In: 1545hrs Crane out: 1615hrs
  • Total Tacks: 31 - Fully foiling: 25; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 3
  • Total Gybes: 30 - Fully foiling: 27; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 3

Crew: Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott, Bleddyn Mon, and Leigh McMillan

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 - Day 26 - May 18, 2023 - Barcelona

Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailed their first of their two AC40s. AC40-4 is being used as a LEQ12, test boat, while the second delivered (AC40-7) will remain as a strict One-Design.

The team suffered a minor injury to one of their sailors after the LEQ12 nosedived late in the session. The AC37 Recon Team caught part of the incident on camera, with the LEQ12's rudder elevator breaking clear of the water, as seen in the headline image. Unfortunately there does not seem to be any video of the nosedive incident from the AC37 Joint Recon team.

From the AC37 Joint Recon team:

Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out their AC40-4 (their first AC40 delivered) at 08:45, and prepared the yacht at the dock ahead of a day of commissioning and testing.

The bottom of the new foil seems like it could have been painted with hydro-chromic paint. By observing the colour change of hydro-chromic paint, they could better understand the water flow around the foil, identifying areas of turbulence or smoother flow. It was also noticed the middle panel underneath the foil, was painted black, which during sailing peeled off towards the tips and under the bulb, as seen in the photos of the foil taken towards the end of the day.

The team docked out at 11:05 and hoisted their new M1-1 LE Mainsail to check the fit. With the limitations around AC75 sails, the team have revealed their first sail design, to be tested on the AC40, starting with trials of “different structure layouts”, according to Design Coordinator, Adolfo Carrau. A clear distinction between the luff and leech panels can be noticed. It appears that the head of the new M1 has a different profile.

The new mainsail was dropped and replaced with the One Design mainsail, after which, an undeclared ‘J1-1 LE’ jib was hoisted. A slight difference can also be seen in the head, with four tell tales below the upper stripe, compared to three tell tales on the OD jib.

Conditions for the day were similar to those recorded in October, with around 10 knots wind from the South East and up to 1m swell from the East. Sailing commenced from outside the port entrance at 12:35, with the team sailing a long with the new foil in the water for commissioning. With a 45° offset between the wind and waves, upwind on starboard tack meant the port foil was travelling directly into the waves, while port tack upwind would have the yacht sailing side on to the waves.

The J1 was dropped for the J2-1 OD for the second sailing phase as the wind started to slowly increase and turn towards the East South East. The team sailed upwind, putting in 11 fully foiling tacks, with tacking frequency progressively increasing. The third sailing phase consisted of reaching, pre-start practice and upwind sailing about the 1.5NM two mark windward/leeward course.

But a nosedive just after the windward mark rounding brought the phase and session to a close. Nico Rolaz was brought on Chase Bravo for a quick check with the onboard medic and was shortly back in the trimming seat for the final phase back to the base.

The team spent almost five hours on the water, covering over 53NM. A total of 43 maneuvers were performed (88% fully foiling).

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 - Day 26 - May 18, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Wind Strength: 8-11kts
  • Wind Direction: SE
  • Weather: Sunny 16°C
  • Sea State: 0.7m to 1.0m
  • Roll out: 0930hrs Dock Out: 1105hrs
  • Dock In: 1555hrs Crane out: 1615hrs
  • Total Tacks: 26; Fully foiling: 25; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 17; Fully foiling: 13; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 3

  • Crew: Maxime Bachelin, Nicolas Charbonnier, Nicolas Rolaz, Lucien Cujean. Positions: Starboard: Maxime B + Nico R , Port: Nico C + Lucien C

    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. Its format is intended to give Sail-World readers a snapshot of all teams' progress on a given day or period.

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