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Cup Spy August 7: Swiss pick a great day to test the AC75

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 8 Aug 2023 07:16 PDT 8 August 2023
Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 78 - August 7, 2023 - Barcelona © Alex Carabi / America's Cup

Three teams started the new week at Barcelona sailing in a fresh seabreeze, clear skies, and a confused seaway. The Swiss sailed their AC75, the Kiwis launched their AC40 One Design, while the Brits got back into their T6 LEQ12 test boat.

What happened in the Cup - August 7, 2023:

  • Emirates Team New Zealand launched their just arrived AC40 One Design, which arrived from New Zealand a couple of days earlier. Today was strictly a commissioning exercise. It is not clear as to what direction they are going to proceed. It would seem that their hydrogen powered foiling chaseboat is about to make its debut in Barcelona.
  • INEOS Britannia looked to have a solid incident free session. They did seem to be too close to the surface on several occasions, immersing their deep underbody, and with it difficult to tell if they were foiling or not.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing went back to their AC75, which had no obvious upgrades, or new foils. From the videos in RFS they appeared to have flight control issues. The Swiss are apparently running their own flight control software. Their AC75 (B1) looked to be barely under control at times but settled down and was sailing well at the end of the session.
  • Luna Rossa - No report or images
  • American Magic - No report or images
  • No further news from the Orient Express Team (formerly K-Challenge).

Weather conditions at Barcelona August 7, 2023:

At the real-time observation station at Port Olimpic, the real-time wind recordings (see image above) over a 12 hour period from 0400hrs to 1600hrs, showed the breeze with a peak average touching 22kts for a period of 90 minutes from 1430hrs to 1600hrs and gusting up tp 25kts in this period. Had this been a race day - the conditions would have been marginal for starting a race.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Alinghi Red Bull Racing AC75/B1 - Day 78 - August 7, 2023 - Barcelona

Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out their AC75 at 09:00hrs. It was immediately noticed that the team prepared a new mast (or heavily modified, tbc) for the day's sailing. The updated mast showcased several notable differences from its predecessor. These included a new structural layup at the base, the addition of access holes in the flat section between the skin tracks, and trim markings at the base by the Cunningham.

Five individual batteries and what appeared to be an additional larger battery pack were carried onto chase Alpha. Phil Robertson was back at the base and was on a chase boat for the day, while Dean Barker was on board the race yacht. Also on board the AC75 for the day was Yves Courvoisier, Research & Development engineer, suggesting possible new innovations being tested.

The allocated recon spot was more than 25m from the mast base and was did not have an unobstructed view, however the this is subject to change as the team are still figuring out their workflow from the new base.

After a prolonged period of setup with many of the teams crew on board, the yacht docked out at 12:05hrs. The J3-1R was hoisted along with the new M2-2R mainsail, noteworthy due to its similar construction and batten arrangement to the LE mainsails seen previously on the AC40, with directional reinforcement along the luff and diagonal battens in the head of the sail.

Throughout the day, the 'Garbi' afternoon thermal South wind grew from 10 kts to 20+ kts. The sea state consisted of a residual East swell caused by the Mistral further offshore, ranging between 0.9-1.4m with a period between peaks of 7 seconds, combined with an aggressive chop from the strong thermal wind.

The Stint 2 of sailing was short and bumpy, interrupted by short pauses to sort out initial adjustments and issues. The team took an almost two hour pause to deal with systems issues on board, with technicians focusing particularly at the traveller area. Sailing resumed and Stint 2 lasted for approximately 25 minutes, with sailing upwind followed by a downwind, before stopping for another 40 minutes to attend to issues on board.

The third and final Stint involved a short upwind and a tack, before bearing away to sail a long downwind towards the forum, and then back upwind, ending the sailing day near the W Hotel.

Sails were dropped and the yacht was back at base by 18:00.

The team covered 38 nautical miles over nearly six hours, with only 55 minutes actively spent sailing. A total of 25 manoeuvres were performed, with 80% being fully foiling.

Crew: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin, Dean Barker, Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing AC75/B1 - Day 78 - August 7, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunny 27 degreesC
  • Wind Strength 10-18kts (from AC37 Recon boat)
  • Wind Direction: 175 degrees - 200 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.9 - 1.4m at 7sec period plus "aggressive" windchop from 180 degrees (S).
  • Dockout: 0940hrs Dock In: 1750hrs
  • Total Tacks: 16 - Fully foiling: 12; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 9 - Fully foiling: 8; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1

Emirates Team NZ - AC40 - Day 40 - August 7, 2023 - Barcelona

From the AC37 Joint Recon Team:

ETNZ rolled out their AC40 -3 "Te Kakahi" for the first time in Barcelona from the shed at 10.45hrs. The boat was craned to the water at 11:15hrs and the team docked out at 12.15hrs.

The main and the J3 were hoisted inside the port at 12:25hrs and 12:35hrs, respectively, and were used for the entire day. No sail changes were performed.

After sailing for twenty minutes, Te Kakahi was sailed back into the harbor to make some minor adjustments in sheltered waters [fixing jib battens according to the Nathan Outteridge interview]. Ten minutes afterwards at 13:15hrs, the training continued.

Today's session was a short one that consisted mainly of verifying and controlling that all systems, components and parts were fully operational and working properly, after rigging the boat for the first time since it was shipped from Auckland. No issues were noticed, and the training was carried without any problem.

ETNZ combined sailing in a straight line upwind and downwind with some tacks and gybes. At the end of the day, the team sailed for one-hour and forty-five minutes net time approximately, not considering the stops for adjustments and communications. They did 16 tacks and 13 gybes, all fully foiling except for touching and going on two tacks and one gybe.

When talking about the sailing conditions, a classic summer southerly Garbi sea breeze prevailed today, increasing in intensity very quickly during the day and shifting to the right in direction as usual. Average 12-16 kts and shifting from 165 degrees to 195 degrees during the day; combined with a 0.73m average sea state from the ESE.

Sails were lowered at 14:38hrs once inside the port, the boat was back in the dock at 14:45hrs, craned out at 15:05hrs and back in the shed at 15:38hrs.

A very good first day for the AC40 selected by the defender of the 37th America's Cup to be used for racing in the upcoming Preliminary Event in Vilanova i la Geltrú, next September.

Sebastian Peri Brusa - Recon on ETNZ

Session Statistics: Emirates Team NZ - AC40 - Day 40 - August 7, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 27 degreesC Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 10-16kts
  • Wind Direction: 160 degrees - 195 degrees degrees
  • Sea State: 0.62metres, from SW
  • Crane In: 1115hrs Dock Out: 1217hrs
  • Dock In: 1445hrs Crane out: 1504hrs
  • Total Tacks: 16 - Fully foiling: 14; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 13 - Fully foiling: 12; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0

Crew: Nathan Outteridge, Peter Burling, Andy Maloney, Blair Tuke

INEOS Britannia - LEQ12 - Day - August 7, 2023 - Barcelona

From the AC37 Joint Recon Team (Justin Chisholm)

INEOS Britannia started their second week of sailing in Barcelona with a fast and furious four-hour afternoon session in a full-throated southerly sea breeze that ranged from the low to high teens.

The accompanying sea state - made up of a short period steep chop of up to 0.75 metres - made life difficult at times for the British crew (helmsmen Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott - who took turns on the port and starboard wheels - and trimmers / flight controllers Bleddyn Mon and Iain Jensen, plus Ben Cornish in the fifth man role) who needed find the sweet spot between flying too high and becoming unstable or flying too low and being slowed by the waves.

It made for exciting watching, with the British LEQ12 hurtling downwind at speeds estimated to be in the high 30 knot range, with the down wind speeds estimated to be in the low thirties.

Tacks and gybes were more polished than the previous windy session last week, but there were, nevertheless, a number of big splash downs - mainly spotted upwind. The team left the harbour with sails up (M2-2 mainsail and J4-1 headsail) at 1415 and after an hour of high speed windward leeward sailing along the Barcelona seafront they returned to the harbour entrance - where a slow downwind turn saw them come perilously close to capsizing - for a short stop to change batteries and swap to the J5-1 headsail (only used once previously in Palma in the depths of winter).

From our observations the boat looked more under control with the smaller headsail and appeared slightly quicker downwind. The sailors appeared to be experimenting with flight heights upwind and when in low mode, other than the speed it was hard to to see if the boat was foiling as it smashed through waves like a displacement yachts.

The second session - more upwind downwind laps lasted an hour with the boat back in the harbour to drop sails at 1640hrs. Dock in was at 1700hrs. For the record, the team were sailing without the rudder bulb seen on the t-foil during tow testing on Friday August 4.

No other alterations were observed. Another sailing day has been scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday August 8).

Session Statistics: INEOS Britannia - LEQ12 - Day 66 - August 7, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunny 26°C
  • Wind Strength 13-17kts
  • Wind Direction:170 degrees - 200 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.75mtr - steep chop
  • Crane In: 1131hrs Dock Out: 1245hrs
  • Dock In: 1700hrs Crane out: 1730hrs
  • Total Tacks: 14 - Fully foiling: 10; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 20 - Fully foiling: 16; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 2

Crew: Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott, Bleddyn Mon, Iain Jensen, Ben Cornish (5th man)

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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