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Cup Spy Oct 10: Another glamour day in Barcelona

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 11 Oct 2023 05:23 PDT 11 October 2023
Alinghi Red Bull Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand - AC75 - Day 91 - Barcelona - October 10, 2023 © Paul Todd/America's Cup

On Tuesday five teams sailed on Tuesday in another splendid, steady breeze of just under 20kts and from a southerly direction.

The breeze was light in the early morning, an opportunity which ETNZ did to engage in a tow testing session. Our guess is that this was testing new flight control software/systems. On the 2021 AC75s only legacy gear is allowed - so the team can't test new wing shapes. With careful observation it is possible to come to a conclusion on the reason for the testing.

Two teams- Alinghi Red Bull Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand sailed their Version 1, upgraded AC75s. The third American Magic sailed paired AC40s.

The remaining two, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and Orient Express Racing Team were also training alone in their AC40s in One Design mode. Because of an agreement between the teams there is no AC37 Recon personnel assigned to a team when it is sailing AC40-OD. The images we have here are captured by other recon units.

The most interesting point from the interviews came from President of Sailing Operations for American Magic, Terry Hutchinson, who commented that the AC40 One Design may not have been the smartest choice for a test hull. He had some admiration for the custom design of the test boats (LEQ12s) of the Italian and British Challengers, presumably from the flexibility the custom design/builds offered for different hull shape features.

However as has been pointed out previously, this Cup cycle is almost without precedent in terms of the options for a team and its test boats. Currently Sail-World is tracking 14 hulls across six teams covering AC75s (3) LEQ12s and AC40s, in a few months there will be another six AC75 raceboats being launched for the Challenger Selection Series, and the Match.

"I think it's probably a much better one design boat than it is a development platform," Hutchinson said in the daily interview with the AC37 Recon Team. "When I look across and see the LEQ12's, and the others have done with their boats.

"But that's not a criticism of the AC40. That's recognizing what it was designed to do - it's a purpose built boat for one design, racing for the America's Cup teams [and the Youth and Womens AC teams].

"But I would say that the boats that Luna Rossa and INEOS [Britannia] have done, that are very specific to looking at what an AC 75 might be, that's a logical progression in the development world. They still face the same scale scalability issues that we face, going from the AC 40 to the to the AC 75.

"So, for us, we made a decision to prioritize racing as much as we did development, and so for for American Magic the AC 40, has been a good tool."

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - October 10, 2023 - Barcelona

Alinghi Red Bull Racing team had a productive sailing session focused on maneuvers with increasing wind and sea state conditions and different jib configurations. ARBR team rolled out their AC75 at 10:00hrs. The yacht was craned in, they placed the Go-Pros and pre-sailing checks were carried out, with electronic, system and hydraulic engineers on board.

The team docked out at 12:00hrs, hoisting the M2-2R mainsail and J3-3L headsail inside the port and being towed out by 12:17h. The wind conditions outside were 11knts with gusts of 13knts from `Garbí´ 228º with clear skies and fairly flat sea state. As yesterday, today's session was focused on manoeuvres, bear away and round up's to check on the performance of the boat in those wind and increasing sea state conditions.

First stint, commenced by the port entrance and consisted on thirteen gybes at 47 knots and nine tacks at 29 knots of speed, with the foot of the headsail flapping in excess.

At 13:06hrs, the team took off upwind and did several round up's followed by three laps upwind-downwind with a big-nose dive in between. The J3-3L jib was substituted with a J4-1R. At 13:46hrs, during the third stint, they did three more long laps playing with the cant angle and the main trim while approaching to el Forum, where they stopped after another big nose-dive and changed batteries and crew configuration. Also they took advantage of solving some of the issues that they were apparently having. At 14:35hrs, with 13 knots average from 220º and notable choppy sea state they did a long bear away followed by a short upwind. After stopping, some technicians went onboard with boxes to check on the electronics. During the last stint, they did 21 manoeuvres approaching to the harbour entrance, where they ended their session on the water. The day wrapped up with sails lowered at 16:10hrs, after which the yacht was towed back to the base, docking in at 16:50hrs. The team covered a total of 75nm miles over almost four hours on the water, 2h 14min were spend sailing with 62 maneuvers performed, 95% fully foiling.

[Report by Michele Melis AC Recon].

Emirates Team New Zealand - AC75 - October 10, 2023 - Barcelona

Emirates Team New Zealand's second sailing day this week involved two sessions aboard the AC75: the first a thirty minute early morning rigless tow test on flat water; and a second regular afternoon sailing session lasting three hours from dockout to dock in sailed in 14 to 16 knot southerly winds and a light (less than 0.5 metre) wind driven chop.

This morning's tow testing took place in close windless conditions and an almost mirror flat sea state – other than some swell kicked up by the passage of the local lifeboat as the yacht left the harbour.

On a long bow-tow with just two helmsmen and two flight controllers on board the New Zealand AC75 lifted clear of the water effortlessly at around 16-18 knots as it began a 15 minute run along the Barcelona waterfront.

After several minutes of foiling at around 18 to 22 knots the speed was increased to over 30 knots with the top speed for the run being achieved on the return leg when the boat was touching 40 knots. Flight appeared super stable throughout the towing session.

After docking in at just before 1000hrs the boat was craned out of the water and returned to the team hangar. Rollout for the sailing session was at 1255hrs with the boat rigged and launched by 1250hrs ahead of a 1334hrs dockout.

The M2-3 mainsail and J5-7 headsail were hoisted by 1350hrs and by 1400hrs the boat was out of the harbour and climbing onto its foils in 15-16 knots of breeze before partially dropping the windward board for for the bear away (see highlights video 3.05 - 3.15) at the start of a long fast (estimated 50 knots+) with four foiling gybes.

The return upwind leg saw five foiling tacks before a very brief (less than five minutes) stop at 1415hrs. A second long fast leeward / windward lap followed before a stop at 1440hrs halfway down what would have been a second downwind leg.

This 12 minute stop saw a rotation of cyclors. At this stage the wind was peaking at 15 knots as the support team dropped two tall start marks into position.

The process of getting the start line aligned correctly took close to 30 minutes during which the AC75 sailed a couple of windward / leeward laps – including one two-board rounding of the right hand (looking upwind) leeward mark on port (see Recon Select folder for today).

A stop at 1520hrs was made to change to the J4-6 headsail (breeze at that point was at 14-15 knots).

Once the line was in place the crew made two starts (including windward entry, prestart manoeuvering, and a windward leg) but after the second start and subsequent windward leg the boat stopped unexpectedly and after a few minutes sails began to be dropped.

Both sails were down by 1610hrs followed by a displacement bow tow back to the harbour for a dock in at 1635hrs.

Another day of AC75 sailing is planned for tomorrow (Wednesday October 11).

[Justin Chisholm]

American Magic - AC40 x 2 - October 10, 2023 - Barcelona

NYYC AM rolled out Magic at 08.00hrs and America at 08:50hrs. Both AC40s on LEQ12 mode, with the same foils’ configuration as yesterday and as last week.

Magic with foil wing #1 and foil flap #1 (FW1 and FF1) on the port side, with modifications on the wing since last weekend, and foil wing and foil flap #4 on the starboard side (FW4 and FF4).

America was composed with foil wing and flap #3 (FW3 and FF3) on the port side, also with modifications since last weekend, and with foil wing and flap #2 (FW2 and FF2) on the starboard side.

Magic was the first of the two boats to be craned to the water at 08:36hrs, and then America followed at 09:20hrs. Both boats docked out at 10:30hrs, as planned.

The same one-design main sails as yesterday were selected again for both boats. However, they were switched. The MN2 on America and the MN3 on Magic, which were hoisted at 10:40 while coming out of the port. Once out, one-design J1s were hoisted at 10:45hrs, on both boats.

During the first hour, Magic remained next to one of the team´s chase boats. It seemed like something was being fixed under the deck, with someone inside the front hatch. In the meantime, America also waited for the wind to increase that was not enough for the AC40s to be able to take-off with no assistance and foil consistently. After trying multiple times to take-off, America succeeded occasionally when the wind increased slightly, and did some warm-up maneuvers.

At 11:45hrs all of a sudden, the breeze kicked in and increased very quickly in intensity.

Both boats changed their J1s straight into J3s and started to speed test at 12:00 with approximately 15 knots of true wind speed.

Two long down winds and one upwind were carried out. On the upwind, while sailing on port tack, Magic was slightly faster standing on foil #4, while nothing could be concluded while sailing on starboard tack.

On the down winds, on starboard tack America was lower at same speed, with more abilities to play different modes, achieving a stronger downwind VMG. Same as the previous days. On port tack, due to one ventilation on Magic and some difficulties to pair the boats, it was hard to judge the differences.

At 13:05hrs there was a long break until 13:30hrs.

Then both boats sailed towards the racing area and did three one-lap upwind-downwind legs, performing three to four tacks and gybes per-leg, respectively.

On the first two races, both boats raced against each other staying very close one to another, possibly forcing modes and simulating tight racing, while on the last one they sailed much further away from each-other without disturbing one-another.

No clear advantages on foils performance could be observed during the upwind/downwind laps on racing mode.

Both boats entered the port and lowered their sails at 14:40, docked at 14:50 and then both boats were craned out. America at 15.20 and Magic half an hour after, approximately.

Another solid two-boat testing day for NYYC AM

Sebastian Peri Brusa – Recon on NYYC AM

Weather Observations - Port Olimpic

Another very good day in Barcelona the breeze increasing quickly after swinging from the East to the South holding at at just under 20kts and stayed at close to that strength from 1300hrs until mid-evening.

The breeze was steady at about 180° (South) and stayed at that direction until around midnight.

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. Weather information is by Predictwind

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