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Cup Spy Sept 30: Kiwis train alone in Barcelona on Saturday

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 30 Sep 2023 15:48 PDT 23-24 September 2023
Emirates Team New Zealand - AC75 - Day 41 - Barcelona - September 30, 2023 © Ugo Fonolla / America's Cup

Cup Spy has left New Zealand for a couple of weeks. Over the coming fortnight - due to limited facilities - we can only produce a very limited analysis of the daily activities from the teams. Normal service will resume on October 10.

Emirates Team New Zealand was the only team reported to have sailed out of Barcelona on Saturday - encountering idea sailing conditions of 10-14kts from the SSW.

If the lighter wind strength report is accurate, the Kiwis managed the remarkable feat of doing 45 foiling tacks and gybes with only one "touch and go" in the whole day. That is using their legacy foils from the 2021 America's Cup


With the start of the America's Cup 2024 now just over 53 weeks distant, the indications are that designers will opt for an all-round boat - given the variance seen in the breeze over the past month, and looking likely to continue for the next three weeks.

It will also be crucial that the designers and sailing team work together to produce wing foils that can generate the lift at low wind speeds required to get the AC75 foiling, but only creating minimal drag once airborne.

Despite being well into the second cycle of AC75s, there seems to be little consensus on wing foil design amongst the six design teams, around 30 strong each, where a Masters or Doctorate in a relevant science is a prerequisite for entry seat amongst that hallowed company.

From that group of around 180 enlightened souls, we still see on a regular basis everything from "W" foils, tubercles, and fences, along with more conventional treatments of wing shape and thickness, bulb size and position.

In bygone Cups, we have seen the design teams start to settle in the same corner of the rule on hull shape and dimensions, but back then, there were no restraints on tank or wind tunnel testing or, initially, even the number of boats that could be built.

So maybe we should have lower expectations of a more agreed approach to AC75 design in this second cycle - given the restraints on launching new AC75s and modifications to the canoe body of existing boats.

Brace yourselves for an AI-influenced phantasmagoria of America's Cup design come the first few months of 2024.

But back to the present.

Saturday provided a 7-9kt breeze in Barcelona and a flat sea state.

"It was a beautiful day out there," Emirates Team NZ's Blair Tuke told Justin Chisholm of the AC37 Joint Recon team.

"We had two days of really nice, mid-range conditions earlier in the week. Today, we got a light one - with really flat water. It was a nice change from the conditions we had in the AC 75 in July and August."

"We're coming into a pretty critical period," Tuke explained. "Now we're one year out from the match period, it's important that we're out there, as often as possible, trying to get a feel for the conditions.

"Today was bottom end, but not full bottom. We use different techniques and manoeuvres to get the most out of the boat in those conditions.

"Barcelona serves up all different conditions. So we're excited by that."

"It's been good to have a taste of it this week. Obviously, the water's been really flat all week, but we've had a wide range of conditions on the wind speed."

"All in all, it was a really good week and our first week back on AC 75. It's nice to have the full [eight] crew back with us. Everyone's doing a great job, and we're looking forward to a big push over the next month."

AC37 Joint Recon Team Report:

Emirates Team New Zealand - AC75 - September 30, 2023 - Barcelona

Emirates Team New Zealand went hunting for a second day of light air conditions today to round off their week of AC75 sailing.

After rolling out on time at 1200hrs and launching at 1227hrs the New Zealander's boat left the harbour at 1405hr with the M1-3 mainsail and the J2-6 headsail.

Winds were in the 7 - 8 knot range at that time with flat seas and the Kiwi crew – helmsmen Peter Burling and Nathan Outteridge along with flight controllers / sail trimmers Andy Maloney and Blair Tuke – seemed to have no issue quickly getting the boat into the air on starboard tack.

After a short upwind stint the boat was eased away onto a fast downwind run along the Barcelona shore line at speeds topping 35 knots.

Gybes were smooth and fast and for a lot of the time the boat was sailed in a slightly bow down attitude with the bow kept within inches of skimming the water.

After turning upwind speeds were in the low thirties with the boat often in the same bow down configuration.

After a few free sailing windward / leeward laps to the crew went into the now familiar routine of prestart practice before full laps around a virtual windward / leeward racecourse.

A stop at 1540hrs saw the team drop and re-hoist the mainsail – possibly to correct an internal control line issue at the top of the sail. (Note: the mainsail was hoisted / dropped and re-hoisted at the beginning of the day before leaving the harbour).

A stop 30 minutes later was the team drop and quickly re-hoist the J2-6 headsail although the reason for this was not evident.

More windward / leeward laps of the virtual racecourse followed during which it was notable upwind that the boat turned a long way into the breeze before the windward foil arm was dropped (example in Highlights video at 05.48hrs).

With the southerly breeze beginning to fade time was called at 1630hrs with sails down by 1640hrs and the boat back on the dock at 1655.

No sailing is planned for tomorrow (Sunday October 1).

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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