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Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Cup Spy Oct 4: Fresh breeze arrives in Barcelona

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 4 Oct 2023 17:24 PDT 5 October 2023
Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 88 - Barcelona - October 4, 2023 © Paul Todd/America's Cup

Five teams sailed off Barcelona in fresh winds - but generally below the maximum strength for racing.

Alinghi Red Bull Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand sailed their AC75s today but only getting down to their #4 jibs - proof that the sail inventories of the AC75s from the previous edition of the America's Cup were not at full stretch.

American Magic left their AC75 in the shed, it has not been sailed since the team arrived in Barcelona, and continued two boat testing with their paired AC40s.

The British team along with the French Orient Express Racing team were also out sailing in their AC40 One Designs. Unfortunately there is no coverage of AC40s sailing in One Design mode by the AC37 Joint Recon Team.

Wind strength measured by the nowcasting at Port Olimpic adjacent to the America's Cup course showed the winds building through the morning from 10kts out of the South to a strength of 23kts at 1400hrs and 25kts at 1700hrs. The breeze started at in a southerly direction swinging SW and stabilising at that direction when the breeze neared its peak strength for the day. The top end breeze for America's Cup racing is 23.5kts measured on rolling 30second average between nine and four minutes before the start. With the start given the green light if that limit 23.5kt limit is not exceeded in the measurement period, racing continues, regardless of any subsequent increase in strength, until safety or other considerations can be triggered by the Regatta Director, including if one boat capsizes.

So while winds were at the top end and beyond, for Cup racing to start - the AC75s may well be racing in these conditions come the America's Cup now almost 12 months away - and 10 months for teams competing in the Challenger Selection Series starting in mid-August 2024.

At sea level, the AC37 Joint Recon teams recorded a lower windstrength than the nowcasting Port Olimpic - recorded at an elevation of 12 metres (approximately half way up the AC75's 25metre high rig). Somewhere between the two lies the truth.

As we have said previously the best option for Barcelona would seem to be a good all round boat, rather than one that is moded around a particular set of expected weather conditions. The weather conditions of the last two days have proven that point.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Report:

American Magic - AC40 OD - October 4, 2023 - Barcelona

NYYC AM rolled out their AC40s from the shed at 09.00 (Magic) and at 09:30 (America). Both boats on LEQ12 mode, with the same foils’ configuration as last Monday in terms of arms, wings, and flaps.

Magic with the new foil wing and foil flap on the starboard side (FW4 and FF4); and with foil wing #1 and foil flap #1 (FW1 and FF1) on the port side. In addition, the preliminary regatta event stickers were removed. The ones with the event logo from both sides of the bow, and the “37th America’s Cup” letters from the mast.

America was composed with foil wing and flap #3 (FW3 and FF3) on the port side with no skeg; and with foil wing and flap #2 (FW2 and FF2) on the starboard side. On America the colorful label on the stern, to easily identify it, was removed.

Both boats were craned to the water at 09:32hrs and 10:00hrs, respectively; and they docked out at 11:25hrs, as planned.

One-design sails were selected for both boats, probably with the intention to eliminate “sails 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, exactly as last Monday, combined with one-design J1s while coming out of the harbor at 11:40 approximately.

Before even starting the first speed test of the day, the wind intensity increased considerably and the team changed their OD J1s for OD J3s at 12.00 on both boats, which remained for the rest of the day.

Two long upwind and one downwind leg were carried out with both boats speed testing, standing in proper positions.

When speed testing upwind on starboard tack, America was faster and higher, both times, standing on foil #3 vs Magic on foil #1, consistently and for a considerable difference.

On the other hand, when speed testing upwind on port tack, while America was slightly higher standing on foil #2, Magic standing on the new foil #4 was much faster achieving a much better upwind VMG overall.

On the downwind, on port tack America was slightly lower at times doing the same speed, while on starboard tack no reliable conclusion could be achieved.

As regards the conditions, even though the wind intensity increased very quickly from 12 to 22 knots approximately, during the 2-hour sailing session, the differences on performance in between both boats on each tack were maintained.

There were three breaks during the day. One at the beginning while changing jibs from 11:40 till 12:10, a second one from 13:05 till 13:15 and the last one from 13:30 till 13:50.

Both boats were sailed back into the port, where sails were lowered at 14:25, docked at 14:30 (Magic) and at 14.50 (America), craned out at 15:12 and 15:50, respectively and both were back in the shed by 16:30.

[Sebastian Peri Brusa – Recon on NYYC AM]

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - October 3, 2023 - Barcelona

Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailing right on the edge in winds that built from 8 to 22 knots.

ARBR team rolled their AC75 at 09:15hrs, and once they rigged, launched and placed the Gopro's on the mast spreader and the hull, they left the dock by 11:30hrs. The M2-2 mainsail and J2 headsail were hoisted inside the port by 11:52h. Right after, the chaseboat towed the boat out to assist in their first take-off of the day.

The wind was blowing 7 to 8 knots from the south when the Bull's started to bear away downwind, maintaining 45 knots of speed between the 5 gybes that they did before stopping for a couple of minutes. They followed with one lap upwind-downwind consisting of six maneuvers with a building breeze up to 16knts from 200º and 0.7m notable sea state.

At 12:32hrs, they dropped J2-2 and hoisted J3-1R square head, right under the spreader. After the hoist, they sailed on displacement mode and have been stopped for half an hour as they were having some issues onboard.

At 13:23hrs, with 19kts average they did three more laps windward and leeward, until they nose-dived near the beach and consequently broke 2 meters of the Jib clew. The AC75 apparently didn't suffer any other damage. They dropped the broken headsail and hoisted the J4, following with a long bear away manoeuvring right on the edge and ending the training upwind just in front of the port entrance.

ARBR team decided to lower the sails at 14:50hrs and tow the boat back into the harbour, where they docked at 15:00hrs.

They foiled for 1h and 22min around 55 nautical miles out of 3h 22min session out on the water.

[No Highlights video available at time of first publication of this report.)

Emirates Team New Zealand - AC75 - October 3, 2023 - Barcelona

Emirates Team New Zealand's second day of training on their AC75 turned out to be a short but intense session sailed in winds that built from 9 knots to 18 knots over the two hours 45 minutes from dock out to dock in.

The Kiwi AC75 rolled out at 1030hrs on the dot and was rigged and launched by 1100hrs ahead of a midday dockout.

The M2-3 mainsail and J3-6 headsail were hoisted by 1215 with the boat out of the harbour at 1225hrs. With the due south wind at 9-10 knots the New Zealand crew had the boat quickly up on the foils and when they bore away downwind accelerated rapidly to well over the 40 knot capability of our Recon boat.

The sailors maintained this blistering pace during the few laps of free sailing to windward and leeward that followed, with the boat clocking up 12 nautical miles in under 15 minutes before a stop at 1240hrs to change to the J4-6.

The next hour of sailing was taken up with a media drone shoot which saw the boat doing repeated upwind and downwind flybys of one of the team's chase boats. With that footage in the can the team set off again at 1350hrs by which time the breeze was up to 15-17 knots.

During what turned out to be the final 20 minute session of the day the boat was observed to lose control shortly after a sharp turn downwind with the bow lurching up before crashing down in a sheet of spray.

After a final windward / leeward lap with three foiling tacks and gybes. With the wind peaking at 18 knots at sea level time was called at 1410hrs.

Sails were dropped by 1420 with the team docking at 1445hrs. Another day of sailing is scheduled for tomorrow (October 5) when the team plan to sail both the AC75 and AC40.

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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