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Cup Spy August 8: Full fleet sails in Barcelona - all five teams testing and training in Cup venue

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 9 Aug 2023 08:03 PDT 8 August 2023
Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 79 - August 8, 2023 - Barcelona © Alex Carabi / America's Cup

It was a busy day off Barcelona as five teams America's Cup teams sailed on Tuesday in another seabreeze - but lighter than the previous day. Overall the size and complexity of the seastate also reduced. There was plenty of kit in action. Two teams sailed AC75's, two in AC40 combinations, and one in a custom design 12metre long test boat.

What happened in the Cup - August 8 2023:

  • Emirates Team New Zealand returned to sailing their AC75.
  • INEOS Britannia had a solid day sailing their LEQ12 custom design test boat.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailed for a second successive day in their AC75, again with Dean Barker aboard.
  • Luna Rossa sailed their AC40One Design - no details of the crew are available, as by mutual agreement there is no recon team assigned to AC40 One Designs.
  • American Magic appeared to have a good day and were the only team to sail two boats against each other.
  • No further news from the Orient Express Team (formerly K-Challenge).

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Alinghi Red Bull Racing AC75/B1 - Day 79 - August 8, 2023 - Barcelona

Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out their AC75 at 09:30hrs. Six individual batteries, one larger battery pack, and a small battery were carried to Chase Alpha in preparation ahead of a long day.

Systems tests were run through, with the new mainsail control systems on display for the first time on deck before dock out at 12:00hrs, with the new M2-2R mainsail prepared and then hoisted, followed by a meticulous hour-long setup of the mainsail control systems.

The J2-2L jib was hoisted and Stint 1 commenced from the port entrance at 13:10hrs, with 10 kts of wind and residual swell from the East/South East. The focus was on a short upwind-downwind sail. During this, Jack Taylor the Yacht Captain, was seen harnessed in on the transom, keenly monitoring the mainsail control systems.

Post the initial sail, there was a 20-minute halt during which a crew member boarded the yacht with a computer, presumably sharing data analysis with the sailors. This was succeeded by Stint 2, where the yacht sailed downwind into the course for laps, with the 2nm course oriented at 115°.

A recess for lunch was taken after this stint.

Stint 3 saw a sudden change in conditions, with the East wind diminishing as the afternoon 'Garbi' thermal South wind taking over. Initial struggles with foiling were observed. However, as the wind strength picked up, the yacht managed to foil again. This stint comprised of upwind sailing, followed by a downwind return to the reset course, oriented at 210°.

The J2 jib was substituted with a J4-1R. Following this, Stint 4 involved a prolonged upwind leg on the starboard, and subsequently, the yacht bore away and gybed, returning on port to the course start line, where the yacht was halted again for 15 minutes.

Stint 5 saw the team prepare for a pre-start practice, however, almost capsized after bouncing through a gybe into the start box. The sailors impressively saved the yacht from capsizing and the yacht reverted to upwind sailing, though pre-start practice was aborted.

Stint 6 was characterized by the yacht sailing far upwind, south of the free port breakwater. This region experienced amplified wave conditions. The merging of the residual East swell with the South wind swell resulted in aggressive wave chop. A failed bear away attempt on port redirected the team upwind and eventually managed a successful bear away on starboard.

The yacht then executed a long downwind sail on port towards Port Olimpic. The chase boats were unable to keep up pace with the yacht.

Yves Courvoisier, the Research and Development Engineer, was on board towards the end of the day. Dean Barker sailed on board, while Phil Robertson was also seen at the base. All five teams were on the water today (excluding the French).

The day wrapped up with sails lowered at 17:25hrs, after which the yacht was towed back to base, docking in at 17:45hrs. The team covered a total of 61nm over five and a half hours on the water, 135 minutes spent sailing. 58 maneuvers were performed, 81% fully foiling and 26 maneuvers per hour.

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

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing AC75/B1 - Day 79 - August 8, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunny 27°C
  • Wind Strength 10-20kts (from AC37 Recon boat)
  • Wind Direction: 110° - 200°
  • Sea State: Residual Easterly swell. SW wind swell 0.7-1.7m at 4sec periods
  • Dockout: 1200hrs Dock In: 1745hrs
  • Total Tacks: 27 - Fully foiling: 21; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 5
  • Total Gybes: 31 - Fully foiling: 26; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 3

Session Statistics: Emirates Team NZ - AC75/B2 - Day 32 - August 8, 2023 - Barcelona

From the AC37 Joint Recon Team:

ETNZ rolled out their B2 AC75 from the shed at 11.40hrs. The boat was craned to the water at 12:10hrs and the team docked out at 13.02hrs. The M2-3 and the J3 were hoisted inside the port at 13:12hrs and 13:15hrs, respectively; and were the only sails used during the day.

Today´s training consisted of a short warm up at the beginning of the day, sailing on a straight line and doing a few tacks and gybes, for approximately twenty minutes. From there on, the focus was mainly on practicing starts and short races all day long.

Complete starting sequences, followed by a short one or two lap upwind-downwind course was the proposal for the day, starting in between their two chase boats and rounding a virtual top mark. On the downwind legs, the chase boats were used as gate marks.

On each of the upwind legs they complemented with three to four tacks, and with two to three gybes on the downwinds.

As usual, the team rotated the entrances coming from the port and starboard ends of the line, and alternated their starting positions. Some at the RC boat and some other at the Pin end.

During the pre-starting sequence it was interesting to see how they played with the windward arm, sometimes bringing it completely down, for example, for practicing a strong bear-away at low speed, like if they had to swing behind a virtual boat positioned to leeward and ahead of them.

On other pre-starts, they approached the line sailing with the windward arm set halfway down, reducing speed, allowing to “fine-tune” the time on distance to the start line. They finally lifted it for full acceleration when needed. On other moments, they just sailed with both arms down.

Today the team did in total 22 tacks and 17 gybes, standing on their foils on almost all of them.

It did not seem like they had to do big efforts to stay flying while maneuvering, even-though during many moments of the day they were sailing on the lower range of the J3.

As regards the general way of sailing the AC75 in five to eight knots, ETNZ continue to sail with a slight heel to windward and forward with their bow slightly pointing down, flying as close as possible to the water specially when going upwind. The mainsail continues to be trimmed and pumped consistently, windsurfing style, always maintaining consistent leech tension.

The lower shrouds continue to be tunned with low tension; and a considerable amount of sag on the forestay can be noticed.

Sailing conditions: During most of the day we had a light breeze from the ESE oscillating in between 6kts to 8 kts in strength. It started from 100° and slowly turned right to 125°.

Almost at the end of the training, a late Garbi sea breeze finally kicked in, once the clouds had moved away and temperatures were higher, pushing the wind direction to 200° and increasing in intensity at the end of the session. As regards the sea state, a light to moderate swell of 0.75m on average from the ESE wind prevailing during the day.

Sails were lowered at 15:55hrs once inside the port, the boat was back in the dock at 16:01hrs, craned out at 16:32hrs and back in the shed at 17:05hrs.

Sebastian Peri Brusa - Recon on ETNZ

Session Statistics: Emirates Team NZ - AC75/B2 - Day 32 - August 8, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 27°C Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 6.2-7.5kts
  • Wind Direction: 100° - 200°
  • Sea State: 0.75metres, from ESE
  • Crane In: 1210hrs Dock Out: 1302hrs
  • Dock In: 1601hrs Crane out: 1632hrs
  • Total Tacks: 22 - Fully foiling: 21; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 17 - Fully foiling: 14; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 1

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

American Magic - LEQ12 x 2 - Day 49 - August 8, 2023 - Barcelona

From Lea Sitjà of the AC37 Joint Recon program assigned to American Magic in Barcelona:

Double-goal day for AM, initial boat-on-boat racing with America and Magic followed by a latter “pushing the limits” on America’s control systems and settings.

Roll out was 10:00hrs for America with silver foil on starboard plus One Design foil on port and Magic in pure One Design foils on both sides.

Paul, Harry, Severin and Riley crewing on Magic while Tom, Lucas, Andrew and Michael were on America. Docking out at 12:09hrs with low dark clouds, 7-9kts at 110° wind and sea state 2 with a light combo swell (180°, 150°, 110°) that increased to a sea state 4 when the seabreeze kicked in at the end of the day with gusts of 18kt at 210°.

It’s the second day America used a new mainsail with an XXL foot.

Jibs#1 were hoisted on both boats and they started the warm-up upwind downwind sailing at 12:47hrs in which America was considerably faster only when on port tack foiling on the silver foil. They stopped at 13:16hrs after Magic almost capsized when losing the rudder downwind.

With a slight increase of wind up to 8-10kts they changed to Jibs#2 and started at 13:33hrs their first practice race, of 20mins duration with two laps. America on the lee won the start forcing Magic into an early tack-away to port, from then on America consolidated the lead and covered Magic for the rest of the race to a comfortable win.

They stopped briefly for 7mins and the second practice race of just 1one lap began at 14:00hrs that was won again by America from the start, although both boats ventilated synchronously right at the starting line without consequences.

They re-lined up to begin Race 3 but America ventilated to a complete stop shortly after the start and floated still while Magic finished the upwind leg on her own and then sailed into port at 14:31hrs completing the first goal for the day, boat-on-boat racing.

Computers and technicians came onboard America at 14:25hrs until 14:48hrs when they resumed sailing into a “pushing the limits” mode that made the rest of the day very interesting to observe. By then the wind had dropped to 5-8kts and it took them a while to take off with jib#2.

America sailing upwind on starboard, tried different settings, heights, trims and heels, sometimes well out of range that caused many ventilation splashes. At one point the boat went into a porpoise cycle when the ride-height control on autopilot seemed to be out of phase with the conditions and wrongly overcorrected the boat trim at the wrong time making the boat jump and nose-dive hard three consecutive times to a complete stop. They had a break @15:18h during which computers and technicians came onboard again.

Right then the skies cleared up and the seabreeze kicked in, starting with 12kt at 210° to quickly build up to 18kts and deteriorating the sea state. They resumed sailing at 15:42hrs upwind and downwind, the boat seemed to be out of whack and we saw many splashes until they stopped at 16:02hrs. Sailing re-started at 16:18hrs on port tack downwind and we saw the same difficulties on an unsettled America with many nose-dives, ventilations and two more scary porpoise cycles. They called it a day at 16:28hrs, into port at 16:40hrs and at the dock at 16:55hrs.

Lea Sitjà, Recon Unit NYAM.

Session Statistics: American Magic - LEQ12 x 2 - Day 48 - August 5, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 8-18kts
  • Wind Direction: 110° - 210°
  • Sea State: 4. 0.8mtr from 210°; 1.0mtr from 150°, 110°, 180° (cross swell)
  • Crane In: 1000hrs Dock Out: 1209hrs
  • Dock In: 1655hrs Crane out: 1715hrs
  • Total Tacks: 33 - Fully foiling: 28; Touch & Go: 4; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 23 - Fully foiling: 17; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 5

Crew: America: Tom Slingsby, Lucas Calabrese, Michael Menninger, Andrew Campbell; Magic: Paul Goodison, Harry Melges, Riley Gibbs, Severin Gramm

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

From the AC37 Joint Recon Team (Justin Chisholm)

INEOS Britannia's scheduled 1330 dockout had to be pushed back by two hours today, reportedly to allow for a weather transition out on the waters off Barcelona to fully complete.

Keen to make up for lost time the team quickly had the sails (M2-2 mainsail and J4-1 headsail) up on their LEQ12 test boat within 15 minutes of leaving the dock and by 1530 were up on foils outside the harbour. With slightly more benign conditions (less breeze – 12-14 knots – and a less extreme (0.5 metre chop yet still confused) sea state the crew – helmsmen Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott with trimmers / flight controllers Bleddyn Mon and Luke Parkinson – were able to run through a series of data gathering exercises prescribed by the designers.

As well as sailing fast windward leeward laps along Barcelona's city shoreline and beaches that included plenty of manoeuvres the British crew also spent some time sailing long straight line legs and at times could be seen upwind executing a series of slow bear aways followed by a slow luff to bring them back to the median course.

Downwind speeds were in the high thirty-knot range with upwind speeds peaking in the low thirties. Although the crew were clearly pushing the boat hard – particularly downwind – it mostly looked under control, aside from a handful of spectacular splashdowns and one very wobbly exit from a gybe (see highlights video at 05.54hrs) Time was called on the day at 1715hrs with sails down by 1725hrs and the boat back on the dock at 1738hrs.

Observed on the boat were at least two small white flat displays with a cable attachment and velcro backing to stick them to the boat. No sailing is scheduled for the British team tomorrow (Wednesday August 9).

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

  • Weather: Sunny 28°C
  • Wind Strength 12-14kts
  • Wind Direction:195°
  • Sea State: 0.5mtr - confused chop
  • Crane In: 1345hrs Dock Out: 1456hrs
  • Dock In: 1738hrs Crane out: 1750hrs
  • Total Tacks: 12 - Fully foiling: 8; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 15 - Fully foiling: 10; Touch & Go:3; Touch Down: 2

Crew: Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott, Bleddyn Mon, Luke Parkinson, 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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