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Cup Spy Oct 2: A 'really productive' foil testing session for USA extends into early evening

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 2 Oct 2023 15:08 PDT 3 October 2023
American Magic - AC40 - Day 71 - Barcelona - October 2, 2023 © Job Vermeulen / America's Cup

It appears that American Magic were the only team to have sailed on Monday out of Barcelona.

The US team sailed both their AC40s in a paired testing session which was geared towards wingfoil testing - with one AC40 - Magic - sporting a fourth new test foil - their last allowed on their allocation under the class rules.

According to the AC37 Joint Recon team there were also some modifications to the other test foil fitted to the port side foil arm of a second AC40 - America.

Coach Tom Burnham was happy with the day. "First of all, we had to delay a bunch today because it was quite light. But it turned into an amazing day out there, it was really great. And here we are back at the dock at 730 at night, so almost sunrise sunset here. So it's been a really productive day," he told the AC37 Joint Recon Team.

The day consisted of some straight line testing with some maneuver testing at the end of the session. "It was a was a really productive day today", Burnham said.

"We can get different conclusions about which foils like which boat speeds, so some foils like to go faster than others and some like to go higher and slower. So we're just trying to figure out the sweet spot of each of the different foils and, and try and figure out the balance of which one will go best around the whole racetrack. And then that's part of what we're looking for in the maneuvers as well - it's not just get the straight line performance, but also the maneuvering performance of these foils."

Burnham highlighted one of the difficulties for observers, who are now part of the team, is knowing when the boats are testing, and recording data, when they are not.

"It's all pretty tricky. What you might think are lineups are really just getting aligned and getting set up for the speed test. "It depends on when the segments are being taken out of the testing. And whether we're lining up or we are actually in the tests.

"One of the things that's tricky about sailing on a boat with foils, when trying to get lined up for testing is how hard it is to get the boats in the right spots [before start the test run]. When it's such light air, you don't have a whole lot of freedom of movement of going high and slow to let the other boat catch up, so there's a lot of times when we're off of optimum angles - just to get the boats in the same lineup. It will be interesting to see what the data shows us tomorrow morning, when we look at it all afterwards."

"All these foils are an option. And again, we need to look at all the data because it's not just about performance in the tacks or just about the performance in the straight line. It's all around an entire race track. So we've got to look, go back and look at all the data and then make our decisions based on what we think the winds are going to be next year.

American Magic recovered from 5th place on the overnight leaderboard to win the first Preliminary Event at Vilanova in mid-September. "It was awesome," Burnham said looking back on the result. "The guys performed really well in the regatta - not just the sailing team, the entire team performed really well at that event, and and it was a good experience for the whole team.

"It helps it helps bring the group together and the sailing team but it also helps energize the entire team. It's really nice to see and it's validating that all the hard work we put in you can see the long hours we put in on the water trying to catch up and get the group to gel and bond. When it pays off in an event like that it's really satisfying.

"We all know that the main event next year is going to be in custom boats and custom foils. And so all this information we're gathering on days like today, and decisions being made are are so important.

"But At least we know that when asked, the sailing team performs well and so that's a really good step in the right direction," he added.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Report:

American Magic - AC40 - LEQ12 vs AC40 OD - October 2, 2023 - Barcelona

NYYC AM rolled out their two AC40s (America and Magic) from the shed at 11.15hrs and 11:52hrs, respectively.

Both boats on LEQ12 mode.

Magic presented a new wing and flap on the starboard side, possibly FW4 and FF4. Their fourth and last wing and flap of their LEQ12 components allowance. On the port side, wing #1 and flap #1 (FW1 and FF1) were maintained from last week.

America was composed with foil wing and flap #3 (FW3 and FF3) on the port side and FW2 and FF2 on the starboard side. However, the Skeg on the port side arm was removed from last week, and there might have been some modifications over the weekend on the port side flap (to be confirmed with components declaration coming within the next 48 hours).

Both boats were craned to the water at 11:45hrs and 12:18hrs, respectively; and they docked out at 14:25hrs, one hour later than planned due to lack of wind.

One-design sails were selected for both boats, probably with the intention to eliminate "sail variables" when testing, as the focus of the day was on the arms, wings, and flaps.

The MN3 on America and the MN2 on Magic were hoisted, combined with one-design J1s while coming out of the harbor at 14:35 approximately.

Leaving aside the breaks and the time consumed trying to position both boats on speed testing position, dealing with being able to stand on the foils and to continue to fly consistently in marginal bottom end wind conditions; three long upwind and downwind legs were carried out with both boats speed testing and swapping positions to windward and to leeward.

On port tack, while sailing upwind, Magic standing on the new foil on the starboard side seemed to be faster and higher than America with foil #2. However, on the downwind legs America despite being slightly slower in speed, they were much lower on the course, achieving a stronger downwind VMG.

These differences on performance were repeated on the three speed tests, both upwind and downwind.

When speed testing on starboard tack, differences were smaller standing on wings and flaps #1 vs #3 on the port side, on Magic and America, respectively. On the downwind legs, America was slightly lower at times doing the same speed.

On the upwinds, no clear conclusion could be achieved as they alternated who was faster or higher in the three different speed tests.

When talking about the conditions, the degree of reliability of today's speed tests is high as we had flat water conditions, combined with a very stable onshore sea-breeze, in both direction and intensity.

At the end of the day during the last forty-five minutes of the training session, both boats practiced some tacks and gybes in marginal lower wind range conditions. Magic seemed more consistent, while America struggled to stay flying a couple times, especially when tacking from starboard into port. Whenever they felled from foil #2, they had to tack into starboard again to be able to take off with no assistance.

Lastly, there were three big, long breaks during the day. The first one at the beginning, then one at 16:30 and the last one at 17.25hrs, much longer than usual, of 30 minutes each approximately, with Magic stopped next to one of their chase boats on the side, while America continued to sail and train some maneuvers. This might be signs of some technical issues onboard Magic.

However, this time it did not prevent the two-boat testing session from being successful.

Both boats were sailed back into the port, where sails were lowered at 19:05hrs, they docked at 19:15hrs and at 19.40hrs the first of the two boats was craned out, indicating the end of the day.

[Sebastian Peri Brusa - Recon on NYYC AM]

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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