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Cup Spy August 11: American Magic dominates with three wins - Day 2 Test Racing

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 11 Aug 2023 19:11 PDT 12 August 2023
Emirates Team New Zealand and INEOS Britannia - AC40s - Broadcast Testing - August 11, 2023 - Barcelona © Job Vermeulen / America's Cup

[Final Edition] Today was the second of three days for the teams to test the race management and broadcast systems ahead of the first of three Preliminary Events.

Check back for additional content, sailing video and interviews.

Four teams participated in today's racing all sailing AC40 One Designs.

What happened in the Cup - August 11 2023:

  • Emirates Team New Zealand, American Magic, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and INEOS Britannia all participated in the test racing. Alinghi Red Bull Racing did not race.
  • American Magic came away very happy with three wins from four races against the Italian Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli. The Americans were passed by the Italians while leading but coming off their foils in a wobbly moment. Otherwise it would have been four from four for the Americans in a big performance turnaround - with co-helmsmen Tom Slingsby and Paul Goodison, both Olympic Gold medalists, showing the New York Yacht Club team will be a force to be reckoned with over the coming 12-14months.
  • Luna Rossa had an easy win over Emirates Team NZ in the video below, getting ahead at the start and appearing to extend. According to the AC37 Joint Recon Team report the outcome of the second race was similar. Kiwi coach, Ray Davies was complimentary of the Italian performance after the racing.
  • Great Britain led at the first mark in their short race with the Kiwis, but while trying to perform a 270° turn to reduce their healthy margin managed to "stuff" the AC40 in a 40kt nosedive. Skipper Ben Ainslie said the ferocity of the nosedive was such he was surprised that the boat and rig emerged intact. The force of the nosedive ripped the clew out of the jib, ending their racing for the day.
  • No further news from the Orient Express Team (formerly K-Challenge).

Commentary:

Today was the second day of test racing in the AC40 One Designs, with American Magic and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli joining Emirates Team New Zealand and INEOS Britannia from the first day of testing.

The racing was conducted in ideal and spectacular conditions, a 10-15kt thermal wind, with bright sunshine and a balmy 32°c temperature - showing the AC40 foiling monhulls at their best.

This session was to again test the Regatta Management System (RMS) for the America's Cup Preliminary Events, the first of which is next month in Vilanova. The broadcast systems are also under test, as is race management using robotic marks. The flights were assigned various scenarios to role play at the start to test various facets of the RMS, and several starts were required to be uncontested in the pre-start.

The teams raced in match racing with American Magic being paired against Luna Rossa in one group, with the US team scoring three wins from four races, and having a foiling error in the fourth.

Races were of short duration of around 15 minutes, on the usual match racing course - but with unanchored team chase boats being used for form start lines in some races. The races were a mix of single and double lap racing. There was no fleet racing.

Emirates Team New Zealand, the team with the most experience in the AC40 One Design, then raced the team with the least AC40-OD experience, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli in a second bracket of racing. Two uncontested starts were sailed with Luna Rossa emerging as the leader at the first cross and held their lead to the end of both.

The third bracket of racing was between INEOS Britannia and Emirates Team New Zealand. Again the Challenger led the Defender around the first mark, but the race came to an end soon afterwards when the British did a bearway to undertake a 270° to reduce their margin over the Kiwis. The maneuver resulted in a spectacular nosedive at 40kts, the force of which blew the clew out of their jib, and the remainder of the racing was abandoned.

While American Magic scored three race wins from four, Emirates Team NZ coach Ray Davies, said in the end of day interview, that he thought Luna Rossa had the edge over the other teams.

All said that it was great to finally be on the water and able to race a competitive team. In the end of day interview, Luna Rossa's Francesco Bruni, said the differences between the boats "was just millimetres - but very small compared to what we are used to seeing in the America's Cup."

"We've done a lot of work this summer, and it is good to see it paying off. If you made one mistake it was very costly," said American Magic's Riley Gibbs. The US team did pay the penalty of falling off their foils at a critical movement in one race, handing the lead and a race win to Luna Rossa.

A feature of the racing was the degree of maneuverability of the AC40, which Bruni felt would make for some excellent match racing in the new class.

A third day of testing is scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday.

As this is primarily a regatta management and broadcast test event, we don't have the extensive content that is usually available for all teams from the AC37 Recon System - but more content will be posted in later editions of this story.

Weather conditions at Barcelona August 11, 2023:

The test session got away late morning, with four AC40s docking out about 1100hrs. Thermal breeze came in earlier and stronger, hitting 10kts at 1130, and then building to 15-17kts average at 1400hrs.

These are recordings taken from 12metres up at Port Olimpic and readings from the Recon boat at 2.5metres up were a little less.

They reported the seastate as being around 0.5 metres and aligned with the wind which was steady at 210° for the afternoon.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

American Magic - Test Racing Day 2 - August 11, 2023 - Barcelona

From the AC37 Joint Recon Team:

First ever day of proper racing between Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) and New York YC American Magic (NYAM) in AC40 One Design mode.

American Magic showed who’s the boss by wining three races out of four. Moreover, they were leading as well the only race they lost but ventilated and fell behind Luna Rossa for once.

NYAM rolled out Magic boat at 9:30hrs and docked out at 11:30hrs with Paul, Tom, Michael and Riley on-board. The rest of the off-duty crew followed closely on the chase boat. A nice seabreeze of 9-12kts from 220° and flattish water greeted them out of the port and they decided to hoist jib#3. Initially Magic warmed up for 20minutes on her own and LRPP, on jib#3 too, joined shortly after. Following a quick break they went on full racing mode at 12:54hrs to complete four races until 14:34hrs. All the action has been captured on video from the bottom gate.

This is the summary of the races:

RACE 1 (1 lap): Won by Magic. Start at 13:00hrs, Finish at 13:11hrs. Following the prestart procedure LRPP started on the lee of Magic with both boats lined-up close together. Magic won the start as LRPP bore away just before crossing the start line to avoid being early while Magic held her course to may be an OCS, or to LRPP being late. Magic led all the way up to the top gate and well into the run when LRPP ventilated to a complete stop. Magic crossed the bottom gate ahead and stopped waiting for LRPP to join for race 2.

RACE 2 (2 laps): Won by Magic. Start at 13:20hrs, finish at 13:37hrs. Even start as LRPP came hard and faster from windward onto Magic who was pinching and may be forced LRPP into an OCS. However, LRPP couldn’t hold her line falling behind and having to tack away early. LRPP was first at the top gate, split rounding and split run, and still first at the bottom gate with just 2 boat lengths ahead. They swapped positions several times on the second upwind but Magic got the lead, just, at the top gate where they split on the last run for LRPP to catch up with Magic right at the last crossing 50m before the finish line. But Magic on starboard tack used her right of way to win the race by forcing LRPP off the finish line and embarrassingly off the foils too.

RACE 3 (2 laps): Won by LRPP. Start at 13:50hrs, finish at 14:05hrs. It was an even start with a big gap between both boats and LRPP on the lee. On the first beat we saw a LRPP slam tack on the bow of Magic to a split top gate rounding. LRPP led all the way on the first run but Magic managed to snick in at the bottom gate. Magic, on the inside, rounded up with two boards down while LRPP, outside with better speed and using only one board, kept an extremely narrow gap to pinch and gain a lee bow position forcing Magic into an early tack away. But after some crossings it was Magic who led at the top gate of this last beat and up to the first crossing on the last run. However, Magic ventilated in a straight line and lost the lead of the race allowing LRPP to cross comfortably and unexpectedly first the finish line.

RACE 4 (2 laps): Won by Magic. Start at 14:20hrs, finish at 14:34hrs. Close start again as LRPP to windward and with better acceleration almost managed to roll over Magic, who barely held on, but eventually LRPP couldn’t hold the pinching line of Magic and fell behind. This time it was Magic who slam tacked in front of LRPP before the top gate and rounded up first. LRPP split at the gate and at the run but trailed behind and even dropped of the foils at the bottom gate rounding. From then on, Magic led and covered tight LRPP during all the second lap finally crossing first the finish line.

Magic sailed to port at 4:47hrs and docked in at 15:22hrs while LRPP stayed on the water and kept training by herself. Overall, Magic foiled for 1hrs 48mins out of 3hrs 52mins on the water.

- Lea Sitjà (AC37 Joint Recon team)

Session Statistics: American Magic - Test Racing Day 2 - August 11, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunny
  • Wind Strength 9-12kts
  • Wind Direction: 220°
  • Sea State: 0.6mtr from 210° Wind chop
  • Roll out: 0930hrs Dock Out: 1130hrs
  • Dock In: 1522hrs
  • Total Tacks: 26 - Fully foiling: 26; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 21 - Fully foiling: 21; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1

INEOS Britannia - AC40 - Test Racing Day 2 - August 11, 2023 - Barcelona

For the second day of the special racing session INEOS Britannia was paired up with Emirates Team New Zealand on one course with American Magic and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team.

The outlined plan for the British and New Zealand race course was to run a series of racing 'scenarios' between the two teams with the first being a regular start sequence with both teams coming into the start box on time and both then starting on time. A variety of other scenarios – like one boat entering late and one boat starting prematurely – were planned for the rest of the day. We were assigned to the leeward end of the racecourse to capture the prestart, start, and leeward gate roundings.

Racing was scheduled to start at 1240 and both teams were out on the water by midday when they engaged in a prolonged session of free sailing – sometimes alone but often together in close quarters racing mode. The contest looked very evenly matched with both teams looking slick on the manoeuvres in the initial flat water/11 knot breeze.

The New Zealand crew were the only ones to make a slip up with a sudden nose dive shortly after a gybe. Racing finally got under way at around 1345 with the teams using a startline formed by two unanchored New Zealand chase boats. There was little in the way of pre-start skirmishing (apparently pre agreed between the teams) and – after some major porpoising by INEOS Britannia on two foils (08.10 in highlights video).

Emirates Team New Zealand led off the startline. At the top mark, however, the British were ahead and they maintained a lead of around 13 seconds at the leeward gate. Halfway up the second beat the British boat bore away hard – attempting (we found out later in the interview with Ben Ainslie) to do a 270 degree turn to close up the gap with the New Zealand boat – and nosedived heavily.

A capsize was avoided but as the boat came head to wind the jib could be seen to have come apart close to the clew. That damage meant the day was over for the British team who dropped sails and returned to the harbour on foils. With no reported damage to the boat or rig, the team is scheduled to be out on the water again tomorrow for the third day of the special racing session.

After INEOS Britannia's early finish we went back out and managed to catch one partial prestart, start, first upwind and a windward mark rounding in a race between the Kiwis and the Italians. Video footage of this and an interview with Francesco Bruni have been uploaded to the Luna Rossa and can be seen below.

Justin Chisholm – Recon on INEOS Britannia

Session Statistics: INEOS Britannia - AC40 - Test Racing Day 2 - August 11, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 11-15kts
  • Wind Direction: 190°-200°
  • Sea State: slight chop <0.5 metre
  • Crane In: 1015hrs Dock Out: 1135hrs
  • Dock In: 1445hrs Crane out: 1515hrs
  • Total Tacks: 28 - Fully foiling: 28; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 24 - Fully foiling: 20; Touch & Go: 4; Touch Down: 0

Crew: Co-Helms: Ben Ainslie (S) and Giles Scott (P); Bleddyn Mon, Leigh McMillan

Emirates Team New Zealand AC40 - Test Racing Day 2 - August 11, 2023 - Barcelona

ETNZ rolled out their AC40 “Te Kakahi” from the shed at 10.45hrs on one-design configuration. The boat was craned to the water at 11:20hrs and the team docked out at 12.02hrs, as planned. The main and the J3 were hoisted at 12:08hrs and 12:21hrs respectively inside the harbor.

A combined training session with team Ineos Britannia was organized for the day. At the beginning of the day and for approximately one hour, many speed tests were carried out sailing upwind and downwind. The level of parity in between these two teams was impressive.

They could sail for long periods of time with marginal gains or losses. Maybe Ineos slightly faster and higher on the upwinds and faster and lower on the downwinds, but ETNZ much more regular on maneuvers.

After those speed tests and two practice pre-starts; one two-lap upwind-downwind race was conducted, starting in between two non-anchored chase boats that were also used as gates.

On the final start, ETNZ had a much better one due to the fact that team Ineos Britannia had an important nose-dive on their final approach to the starting line. Nevertheless, they were able to recover and round the top mark in the lead. On the downwind, their ten boat-lengths lead was maintained and they continued in the front after rounding the gates. Half-way on the second upwind, team Ineos Britannia bore away, nose-dived hard, and their J3 got severely damaged breaking in two parts from the clew, bringing the race to an end.

After making sure everyone was safe and once the situation was under control, ETNZ sailed on their own for another hour approximately doing some upwinds and downwinds, with some tacks and gybes. At this time, this RU had to head to the LRPP and AM race-course to get some shots of their windward mark rounding’s as asked and planned.

At 15:08 once the races in between LRPP and AM were over, LRPP approached ETNZ and two races were carried out in between these teams, with the same format.

It was agreed that each of them would start on different ends of the starting line, avoiding boat-to-boat pre-start match racing techniques. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli started in the front on the two races and was able to lead and slightly extend on both.

When talking about the sailing conditions, today we had a classic sea breeze Garbi, shifting to the right persistently during the day, starting on 180 and reaching 205 on the afternoon. As regards intensity, building during the day, commencing with 9 to 10 knots, and ending the day with 14 to 15 knots on average, measured at sea level.

Once back in the port, the J3 was lowered at 15:58 and the main four minutes afterwards. The boat was back in the dock at 16:08, craned out at 16:32 and back in the shed at 16:57. No breakdowns today for ETNZ.

Sebastian Peri Brusa – Recon on ETNZ

Crew: (Co-Helms): Peter Burling, Nathan Outteridge, Andy Maloney, Blair Tuke.

Session Statistics: AC40 - Test Racing Day 2 - August 11, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunshine, mostly clear skies, 31°
  • Wind Strength 9kts - 15kts.
  • Wind Direction: 180° - 200°
  • Sea State: 0.5m; slight chop.
  • Dockout: 1202hrs Dock In: 1608hrs
  • Total Tacks and Gybes 65 Tacks (Est.) and 50 Gybes (Est.) 95% Fully Foiling.

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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