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Cup Spy July 25: Dramatic day in fresh winds for Italians and Kiwis

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 25 Jul 2023 21:46 PDT 26 July 2023
Emirates Team New Zealand - AC75 - Day 25 - July 25, 2023 - Barcelona © Job Vermeulen / America's Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa were the only two teams to venture out in fresh winds at Barcelona and Cagliari respectively.

The Kiwis sailing their AC75 seemed to cope well with the fresh winds and likely awkward seastate off the seawall at Barcelona.

In Cagliari Luna Rossa also seemed to have a good session, again comfortably handling the fresh breeze, however the team had the misfortune to do a slow speed capsize in their LEQ12, which was recovered and towed back to the team base.

What happened in the Cup - July 25, 2023:

  • Luna Rossa - sailed their LEQ12 from Cagliari, but did a low speed capsize at the end of the session.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand sailed their AC75 in fresh winds and appeared to handle the conditions without an issue.
  • INEOS Britannia have set up in their new base in Barcelona but remained ashore. They will sail their AC40 and test boat T6 next week.
  • American Magic - stayed ashore
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing did not sail. The team are moving into their new permanent base, in Port Vell.
  • No further news from the Orient Express Team (formerly K-Challenge).


The most significant aspect of the day was how the Kiwis would handle the Barcelona sea state, in a fresh breeze with the swells "off axis" from the direction of the wind.

From what is available from the Recon Team, the Kiwis looked like they were sailing on the Hauraki Gulf. The AC75 looked to be sailing with stable flight control, and were keeping the optimal distance above the surface.

"It was a really good day out there," said flight controller/trimmer Blair Tuke, who had just flown in from competing at SailGP Los Angeles. "Anywhere between 10 and 17 knots of wind, maybe 18 knots, and swell or sea state coming from quite far left to the wind. So it was challenging for flight control. But all in all, the team had a great day. and it sets us up nicely for next [test] block."

Tuke said he didn't think they were quite there, yet, with their flight stability, "but that's the goal."

"We've been gearing up for this with training back in New Zealand. We sailed on the nor'easter breeze back in New Zealand that's often lined up with the wind. So we don't have a lot of off axis swell."

"But we've thought about how we will control it. And we're really pleased with how the team tackled it today. We were straight off the plane and to have been able to control the boat like that, in those conditions, was pleasing."

Most who have followed AC75 racing will have noticed that they leave jib selection until the last possible moment before racing, and then opt for the sail that is the smallest possible for the current breeze.

The Kiwis followed this practice, starting with the J3, as the breeze built rapidly off Barcelona.

"We had a little mistake initially with how the the jib was connected up to the load cell at the top of the rig, " Tuke explained. "We got that back going and then obviously changed from the J3 to another couple of codes, when breeze built quite quickly from 10 knots straight to 15-18. `

"We've obviously sailed this boat quite a lot, but the configuration changed from the last Cup, obviously with no backstays. So we're still learning exactly where the where the crossover lies. We don't mind changing back and forth a little bit.

"Like any high performance boat, there's that peaky period, around maximum power, which is quite difficult to manage.

"You're trying to get the most out of the boat, and quickly from there the boat starts to accelerate - and you're chopping down codes. But the sea state obviously adds another factor into that so that, so we're working out just how much power you need with the sea state that's around."

Weather conditions at Barcelona July 25, 2023:

On the water the AC37 Recon teams reported a breeze of 8-17kts from 295°-305°. At the real-time observation station at Port Olimpic, at ETNZ's dock out time (1130hrs) the breeze at Port Olimpic was flicking around an average of 5-7kts from 150° the wind increased steadily through to 14.00hrs reaching an average of 18kts gusting 22kts from 205° at 1400hrs.

The difference between the two sets of reading can be cause by the different heights for reading - 8ft (2.5mtrs) for the AC37 Joint Recon crews and 12 metres - midway up the 23 metre AC75 rig.

Emirates Team NZ - AC75 - Day 25 - July 25, 2023 - Barcelona

From the AC37 Joint Recon Team:

ETNZ rolled out their B2 AC75 from the shed at 10.01hrs. The boat was craned to the water at 10:39hrs and the team docked out at 11.30hrs.

The M2 and the J3 were hoisted at 11:50hrs. Two minutes afterwards and even before starting to sail, the front sail had to be lowered.

The reason that demanded this action could not be identified.

Some of the crew worked on it for five minutes. It could not be detected what they were specifically doing.

At 12.02hrs ETNZ started training and ten minutes afterwards the J3 came down, due to an issue on the jib halyard. It did not seem like something got broken, but more like if something was not properly adjusted, hooked or cleated on the halyard connector. Immediately after, one of ETNZ´s members climbed up the mast to get the top part of the halyard. In less than ten minutes ETNZ was back training.

The first part of the training consisted of a warmup, sailing on a straight line and doing some tacks and gybes. The second part and most of today´s session was about sailing around a virtual upwind-downwind course, doing three to four tacks and gybes on each leg.

When talking about boat tunning, with winds over 15 knots of TWS, a considerable lateral bend could be noticed on the top section of the mast to the leeward side, increasing twist and increasing de-powering. Lower shrouds pretty loose, flapping on the leeward side.

As regards maneuvers, adding to the gybes description of the previous days, the main camber gets inverted pretty early on the gybe, when the boat´s course is approximately half way in between downwind VMG course and dead downwind course.

Last but not least, even in conditions over 15 knots of TWS ETNZ continued to work very actively on the main trimming, pumping consistently maintaining a stable leech tension, while sailing downwind.

ETNZ did approximately 25 tacks and 26 gybes, with a solid 95% of them flying, even though there was an uncomfortable swell from the NE.

As regards the sailing conditions, clear skies with some low Cu clouds on the NE on top of the water.

Wind intensity increased consistently during the day, starting in 8 knots of TWS at sea level and ending up in 17 knots. Wind direction started on 165 and ended up on 195, persistently turning right.

There was a considerable 0,6m to 0,9m swell from the north-east that made maneuvers a bit more challenging than usual.

Sails were lowered at 13:58, the boat was back at the dock at 14:20, craned out at 14:55 and put back in the shed at 15:24.

Sebastian Peri Brusa – Recon on ETNZ

Session Statistics - Emirates Team NZ - AC75 - Day 25 - July 25, 2023 - Auckland

  • Weather: 32° Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 8-17kts
  • Wind Direction: 170°-195° (SSE-SSW)
  • Sea State: 0.9metres NE
  • Crane In: 1039hrs Dock Out: 1130hrs
  • Dock In: 1420hrs Crane out: 1455hrs
  • Total Tacks: 25 - Fully foiling: 23; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 26 - Fully foiling: 24; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 0

Crew: (LEQ12) Nathan Outteridge, Peter Burling, Andy Maloney, Blair Tuke

AC37 Joint Recon Team Report:

Luna Rossa - LEQ12 - Day 80 - July 24, 2023 - Cagliari

From the AC37 Joint Recon Team:

The Italian LRPP LEQ12 rolled out at 9:30hrs and the mast stepping procedure began right away lasting 30 minutes considering the gusty Maestrale breeze, easily done by the shore team craning the yacht in by 10:00hrs.

Routine checks followed and dockout was scheduled for 10:30hrs. Leaving the harbour behind, the team seemed to conduct some tow testing towards Capoterra taking advantage of the flat waters at boat speeds between 22kts and 25kts.

The main M2-1 was hoisted with the J4-1 by 10:55hrs and the LEQ12 was foilborne on port tack after self taking off on 75-80 TWA (True Wind Angle) course with 17-18kts boat speed.

After two tacks the prototype was observed bearing away, certainly quite hard for the RU rib to keep up, a series of gybes followed before trimming back up on port tack and repeating this routine twice.

The prototype looked faster than ever and while trimming up during the second round, the gusty and shifty offshore breeze had suddenly increased to steady 20-21kts from 305° TWA.

The LEQ12 dropped both boards to stop and, before the tow line was passed on from the chase boats, it lost its stability at low speed and capsized.

The LEQ12 was then quickly upright again, sails were lowered and the day was called with 21 minutes of foiling, 4 tacks and 6 gybes - [Michele Melis AC Recon].

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa - LEQ12 - Day 80 - July 25, 2023 - Cagliari

  • Weather: 34°C Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 16-22kts
  • Wind Direction: 295°-305°
  • Sea State:
  • Crane In: 1000hrs Dock Out: 1030hrs
  • Dock In: 1150hrs Crane out: 1300hrs
  • Total Tacks: 4 - Fully foiling: 3; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 6 - Fully foiling: 5; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0

Crew: Francesco Bruni, Marco Gradoni, Andrea Tesei Umberto Molineris

This commentary was written and compiled from video, still images and statistical content extracted from the AC37">">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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