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Cup Spy August 24: Cup teams train, as TP52 Worlds fleet races in Sailing Heaven

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 24 Aug 2023 21:17 PDT 25 August 2023
Emirates Team NZ - Day 36 - Barcelona - August 24, 2023 © Job Vermeulen / America's Cup

Four Cup teams sailed six boats, sharing the waters off Barcelona alongside the 10 strong TP52 World Championships, which got under way on Thursday after losing two days of racing.

What happened in the Cup - August 24 2023:

  • Emirates Team New Zealand sailed their AC75 performing 54 maneuvers - with a 100% dry foiling percentage. They then switched to their AC40 and continued to work with the Regatta Management System staff to undertake further testing following the previous three day testing session involving four teams.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailed two AC40's turning in over 100 maneuvers (tacks and gybes) in a four hour session. They had coach/co-helm, Phil Robertson (NZL) on one of the AC40s
  • American Magic sailed two AC40s.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli did not sail out of Sardinia
  • Orient Express Racing Team - no report of the French team sailing, however they were spotted in some other images shot by the AC37 Joint Recon teams.
  • INEOS Britannia - no report of the British team sailing. r testing ahead of next months Preliminary Event in Vilanova.

Commentary: Barcelona Preview

Today, we saw Barcelona possibly at its finest for sailing.

Brilliant sunshine, fabulous backdrops, clear blue skies, flat seas, and a steady breeze that flicked up to 15kts towards the end of the day.

Four teams got out - two - American Magic and Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailing a pair of AC40s - with test wing foils setup. Emirates Team NZ sailed with their AC75 in conditions that are often seen in Auckland. Orient Express Racing Team got a great day to break in a crew and their near new boat on just its third sail.

The Rolex TP52 World Championships (see below) gave those who have not been to Barcelona an idea of what the America's Cup could be in 12 months - rather than trying to extrapolate AC40s and the AC75 in serious race mode, rather than testing foil wings or whatever was on the test script for that day.

Keep an eye out while watching the video for some AC boats in the background.

With the first Preliminary Event due to take place in nearby Vilanora in 20 days, the AC37 Joint Recon Team have been prepped to ask questions of the sailors/cyclors and others, trying to raise the enthusiasm level for the regatta. No one is popping their clogs about the regatta being a hugely significant event in the context of the 2024 America's Cup. Quite rightly, the teams are more focused on speed development for their race boat than locking horns with their competitors. However, there was a palpable sense of relief during the recent Race Management Series, where the teams finally got alongside and raced their competitors.

The same will happen in Vilanova.

Unlike preliminary events of earlier Cups, in 2024, the Preliminary Events don't count for points in the Cup itself or the Challenger Series. At best, they will count as talking points and, of course, carry bragging rights.

Those with longer memories can remember the debacle in Bermuda when the Defender won the first round of the Challenger Series, carrying a point into the Match, and the scoring system was manipulated so that the Challenger started the America's Cup on negative points. The system was a debacle and wasn't used in the last Cup or the next - and the Defender hasn't been allowed to sail in the Challenger Selection Series either.

The real value of the Preliminary Events is not about the 2024/37th Match for the America's Cup but rather as a pointer to the next cycle and how an AC40 regatta circuit would look for both television and boat sponsors.

From what we have seen to date, it should be a success. The AC40 is fast and cranky - much more so than the AC75 - which creates the omnipresent opportunity for a nosedive, spinout or whatever. That potential creates tension for the watching fans - like F1 Grand Prix racing, and it can never be said that the AC40 racing is like watching paint dry, which was often the case in your father's America's Cup.

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli

As far as we know the Italian team didn't sail today.

But right on deadline they provided this great piece of Youtube action: Prada Linea Rossa once again supports the water sports athlete Nikolas Plytas in another adrenaline-filled extreme wakeboarding adventure, this time in the waters of Cagliari on a custom wakeboard developed for him by Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Session Statistics: Emirates Team NZ - AC75/B2 - Day 36 - August 24, 2023 - Barcelona

From the AC37 Joint Recon Team:

ETNZ rolled out their AC75 from the shed at 10.57hrs. The boat was craned to the water at 11:30hrs and the team docked out at 12.32hrs, as planned. The M1 [mainsail] and the J2 [jib] were hoisted inside the port at 12:40hrs and 12:45hrs, respectively; and were the only sails used during the day.

The 37th America's Cup defender organized the day in two parts. First, a normal training session with their AC75 "Te Rehutai" and then an afternoon sail with their AC40 on one-design configuration, with the objective to continue to test the race management systems and the autonomous marks, that will be used at the upcoming preliminary regatta in Vilanova, next September. This Recon Unit was told to recon the first of the two sessions.

The training started sailing mostly on a straight line, both upwind and downwind, for approximately one hour. When comparing to other days, when sailing upwind it seemed like ETNZ sailed slightly more heeled to windward, with the leeward foil wing closer to the surface and the wing tip coming out of the water more regularly and most the time. At the same time, on the windward side, the windward wing seemed extremely close to touch the water surface, and even touching it at times.

After a short break and a cyclors rotation, during the second half of the training, the focus was centered on the tacks and gybes. ETNZ did in total 27 tacks and 27 gybes, standing on their foils on absolutely all of them.

Besides the team's impressive boat-handling performance, the conditions helped as completely flat water and a stable 7 to 12kts sea breeze from the SSW prevailed during the day.

Te Rehutai was sailed back to the port entrance, where sails were lowered at 15:14, the boat was back in the dock at 15:25, craned out at 15:55 and back in the shed at 16:25. No breakdowns were detected

Sebastian Peri Brusa - Recon on ETNZ

Session Statistics: Emirates Team NZ - AC75/B2 - Day 36 - August 24, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 34°C Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 8-10kts
  • Wind Direction: 190° - 200°degrees
  • Sea State: 0.25metres,
  • Crane In: 1130hrs Dock Out: 1332hrs
  • Dock In: 1525hrs Crane out: 1545hrs
  • Total Tacks: 27 - Fully foiling: 27; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 27 - Fully foiling: 27; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

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

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - Day 49 - August 24, 2023 - Barcelona

Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out the AC40-7 (RED) at 10:10hrs and the AC40-4 (YELLOW) at 10:55hrs. The Red boat was prepared in one-design mode, while the Yellow boat was set in LEQ12 [test boat] mode, equipped with the tubercle foil on its port side and the anhedral foil on starboard. The Yellow boat received notable attention; a hydraulic pump was connected to it, and a portable air conditioner was also utilized, indicating work below deck on the hydraulic system.

Both yachts docked out at 14:00hrs, and sails were raised in port. The M1-2 LEQ12 mainsail and the new J2-2 LEQ12 jib were hoisted on the Yellow boat, which then started sailing from the port entrance at 14:25hrs, followed shortly after by the Red boat at 14:30hrs. The 'Garbi' afternoon thermal wind was steady from the SSW, showing speeds between 10-14 kts. Sea State was relatively flat, with wave heights not exceeding 0.5m in the sailing area.

During the first stint, the session opened with a brief upwind/downwind warmup. While the boat was sailing on foil, Yves Detrey was seen climbing out of the leeward trimming seat and crawling on deck to adjust controls in the LEQ12 jib clew. In this session, the Red boat seemed to have a slight edge both upwind and downwind segments.

In the second stint, the boats engaged in a lengthy upwind/downwind race. The Red boat reached the windward mark (defined by a chase boat) first and maintained its lead throughout, even attempting what looked like a dummy tack, by quickly lowering and raising the windward foil, that the Yellow boat didn't fall for.

The third stint comprised a one-lap race on the 2nm course set at 195 degrees. Owing to obstructions from parasail and charter boats on the start line, both yachts initiated their race in synchronization away from the start gate. The Yellow boat lead at the windward gate and extended the lead with a closer shore approach during the downwind leg. This is the only race the Yellow boat won.

The fourth sailing stint consisted of a two-lap race. The Red boat sailed closer to the shore, gaining favourable winds and opening a significant gap from the Yellow boat, which sailed away from the land.

This strategy seemed to consistently give considerable advantage.

The two crews swapped each other's boats for the remaining two races. The LE jib on the Yellow boat was dropped momentarily to be re-adjusted.

The fifth stint saw a one-lap race. The yellow boat was on the back foot early on, with a touch down during a tack just prior to the start. This caused it to cross the starting line at a reduced speed compared to the red boat. The Red boat led at the top mark, as the yellow boat fell of the foils after rounding and gybing. The Red boat performed a gybe and a tack, which allowed the yellow boat to close the lead, but not enough to overtake downwind.

The sixth and final stint of the day was a single lap race with an increased number of manoeuvres. The Yellow boat displayed a marked improvement in consistency as compared to previous stints. After rounding through the finish gate, the yachts continued to race upwind along the beach, heading back to the base.

The Red boat entered the port directly, whereas the Yellow boat continued sailing a little longer, then stopped outside the port entrance and dropped the sails at 18:00hrs.

It was thought that the difference in performance between the boats was due to the manual flight control on the Yellow boat, however in the post-sailing interview, Yves Detrey claimed both boats were using automated FCS. [S-W several competitors have said in interviews that the AC40 will only run on the supplied auto-pilot software, and it is not possible to run with manual flight control. Further ETNZ will not allow the other crews access to the software systems for the AC40 flight control or to modify it. This is standard IT practice on systems where only a generic version of the software is specified to be run, and means the AC40's can easily be put back into one-design configuration - and certified - for the Preliminary Regattas and Youth & Womens America's Cups.]

The AC37 Joint Recon Team covered 56nm following ARBR. The team spent four and a half hours on the water, of which the ARBR team spent an aggregated 150 minutes sailing. 103 tacks and gybes performed by the Yellow boat were counted, the highest number recorded yet. 89% of maneuvers were fully foiling, at a rate of 41 maneuvers per hour.

Crew: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nico Charbonnier, Maxime Bachelin, Phil Robertson, Nico Rolaz, Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey, Jason Waterhouse Rotation: AC40-4 (Yellow) Starboard: Arnaud P + Bryan M Port: Max B + Yves D AC40-4 (Red) Starboard: Nico C + Nico R Port: Phil R + Jason W 16:30hrs Full crew swap between Yellow and Red boats.

[S-W: it seems that Robertson and Waterhouse were co-helmsman and trimmer on the same side on the same boat - Yellow (O-D) initially and then the crews swapped boats.]

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - Day 49 - August 24, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunny 35 degreesC
  • Wind Strength 10kts-14kts (from AC37 Recon boat)
  • Wind Direction: 190 degrees-195 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.3mtr
  • Dockout: 1400hrs Dock In: 1700hrs
  • Total Tacks: 65 - Fully foiling: 59; Touch & Go:5; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 38 - Fully foiling: 33; Touch & Go:3; Touch Down: 2

American Magic - LEQ12 x 2 - Day 57 - August 24, 2023 - Barcelona

The NYYC American Magic started to roll out their prototypes at 10:45hrs with the same configuration as yesterday.

America: with a black gullwing foil with elevated tips and a spat on starboard side and the new C silver version with elevated tips on port side, and Magic; with the black one design T foil on starboard and the version H of the port wing foil painted in matt silver with full white tips.

They proceeded with the mast stepping procedure and by 12:00hrs both boats where in the water. Dock out at 13:00hrs after a quick briefing with Tom, Lucas, Michael and Severin in Magic and Paul, Andrew, Riley and Harry in America.

Outside the harbour and with the main up they hoisted #J1 [jib] with 7-9kts coming from SSW and 0.2m waves from 180 degrees (S).

A 10min lap followed by 8 tacks and 7 gybes made them stop and change to #J2.

At 13:59hrs America and Magic started foiling 16mins upwind testing on starboard tack comparing FW1 and FW3 ending at 14:28hrs bearing away.

Once stopped, America checked on their port foil as they did yesterday before foiling again. For 31mins they did an amount of 24 majestic maneuvers.

By 15:20hrs they changed batteries and hoisted #J3 as the wind increased to 11-13kts. America went back to sailing as Magic did after having some problems with their halyard.

Back to harbour at 17:10hrs ending a 2hrs 26min fully foiling training focused on testing aeros and maneuvers.

[Elia Miquel, Recon Unit NYYCAM.]

Session Statistics: American Magic - LEQ12 x 2 - Day 56 - August 24, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunny 30 degrees
  • Wind Strength: 7-13kts
  • Wind Direction: 188 degrees - 200 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.2mtr from 180 degrees (S)
  • Crane In: 1045hrs Dock Out: 1300hrs
  • Dock In: 1740hrs Crane out: 1830hrs
  • Total Tacks: 0 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0 [No tacks recorded]
  • Total Gybes: 0 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0 [No gybes recorded]

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

Weather conditions at Barcelona August 24, 2023:

  • According to the Predictwind readings taken at the entrance to Olimpic Port the breeze was only 3.5kts at noon, when it swung from the East to the South and increased to 15kts by 1500hrs, gusting 17kts.
  • Sea state: 0.3metre.
  • Conditions: 30 degrees Sunny

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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