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Cup Spy Oct 16: Cup teams 'get a reality check' - Paul Goodison

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 17 Oct 2023 00:48 PDT 16 October 2023
Emirates Team New Zealand - AC75 - Day 48 - Barcelona - October 17, 2023 © Ugo Fonolla / America's Cup

Three America's Cup Challengers sailed on Monday in a very difficult seaway of just under a metre which was in a contrast to the flat seas and champagne sailing conditions of the previous week.

What happened in the Cup - October 16, 2023:

  • Emirates Team New Zealand sailed their AC75, in the difficult conditions , with the Kiwis turning in a 100% successful dry filing tack/gybe percentage - which is excellent in any conditions, let alone those which prevailed today.
  • American Magic sailed their two AC40s, again in development testing - with test wingfoils and one design rigs.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailed their AC75 after declaring two new jib skins.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - No report.
  • INEOS Britannia - No Report. Their test boat T6 is still in the shed after the catastrophic destruction of their rudder and rudder assembly during a towing session.
  • Orient Express Racing Team - no report

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Emirates Team New Zealand - AC75 - October 16, 2023 - Barcelona from Justin Chisholm - ETNZ Recon Unit

The weather for Emirates Team New Zealand's opening AC75 session of the week saw very contrasting weather conditions to those of the past three weeks when a regular southerly wind and flatish sea state was the norm.

Today instead the wind blew from the north east all day at between 12 and 17 knots and the sea state was a highly unpredictable, very confused, steep chop of up to an estimated 0.8 metres.

Sea conditions were worst just outside the harbour where the refractive effect of the waves bouncing back off the breakwater was most pronounced.

After rolling out at 1130hrs the Kiwi AC75 was rigged and launched by 1215hrs before a slightly delayed dock out time of 1334hrs.

Sails (M2-3 mainsail and J4-6 headsail) were hoisted in the flat water just inside the harbour entrance and by 1410hrs the crew had the boat punching through the bumpy seas on starboard upwind before climbing steadily into the air to begin the first of a series of windward / leeward laps.

Although the sea state made it impossible for us to follow the boat closely the tacks and gybes looked smooth and assured although the boat appeared less stable in flight downwind as the sailors dealt with the unpredictable sea state.

After a 10 minute stop at 1425hrs the boat was in the air constantly for 15 minutes of windward leeward sailing before a second 20 minute stop.

A third 10 minute stop 15 minutes later saw a rotation of the cyclors. The final session of the day lasted 40 minutes with the boat scorching around a series of long and shorter windward leeward laps (free sailing with no apparent virtual racecourse).

This session ended at 1600hrs with the boat sailing into the harbour entrance to drop sails by 1610hrs with dock in taking place at 1620hrs.

Session Statistics: Emirates Team New Zealand - AC75 - October 16, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Grey and overcast rain until 1230hrs 20°C
  • Wind Strength 12-17kts
  • Wind Direction: 060°
  • Sea State: 0.8m Choppy and confused
  • Crane In: 1215hrs Dock Out: 1334hrs
  • Dock In: 1620hrs Crane out: 1700hrs
  • Total Tacks: 23 - Fully foiling: 23; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 25 - Fully foiling: 25; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

Crew: Peter Burling (Starboard) Nathan Outteridge (Port), Andy Maloney (Starboard) Blair Tuke (Port). Cyclors on rotation: including: Louis Sinclair, Sam Meech, Simon Van Velthoven; Dougal Allan, Marcus Hansen; Cameron Webster, Louis Crosby

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - October 16, 2023 - Barcelona - from Elia Miquel- ARBR Recon Unit

Alinghi Red Bull Racing team had a commissioning day with big waves and shifty winds. ARBR team recently declared two new jib skins, J1-2R version C and J3-1R version D. They rolled out their AC75 at 10:00h. The yacht was craned in, and the usual pre-sailing checks were carried out.

The team docked out at 12:00h, hoisting the M2-2R mainsail and J3-1R headsail by the port entrance. The wind and sea conditions outside were 8 kts from 080º with short and sharp waves and confusing sea state.

Alinghi started sailing in displacement mode by the port entrance, checking all the systems before the first take-off at 13:00h. They did a manoeuvre warm-up with an increasing shifty colder breeze, and stopped sailing apparently with intentions on changing the jib configuration.

After a talk with the chaseboat members, they followed with a five minutes upwind and then dropped the J3-1R and hoisted the J4-1R. At 14:03hrs, the team did a long upwind and changed batteries in the proximities of El Masnou, 10NM at NE from Barcelona. At 14:36hrs, they commenced a 20 minutes downwind consisting on fourteen gybes and ended up in the vicinity of el Forum with a cyclors swap. At 15:10hrs, with eleven knots from ENE they followed with two more long legs upwind-downwind, doing 19 fully-foiling manoeuvres, approaching downwind to the harbour, where they lowered the sails at 16:20hrs. The team covered a total of 70 nautical miles over four hours on the water, 119min were spend sailing with 61 manoeuvres performed, 92% fully foiling.

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - October 16, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Rain and Clouds 19°C
  • Wind Strength 8-12kts
  • Wind Direction: 040° - 090°
  • Sea State: 0.8m Choppy and confused
  • Crane In: 0900hrs Dock Out: 1200hrs
  • Dock In: 1640hrs Crane out: 1750hrs
  • Total Tacks: 42 - Fully foiling: 40; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 39 - Fully foiling: 36; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 3
Crew: Maxime Bachelin, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Charbonnier, Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey, Nicolas Rolaz, Florian Trüb, Nils Theuninck, Arthur Cevey, Augustin Maillefer, Barnabé Delarze, Thery Schir

American Magic - AC40 x 2 - October 16, 2023 - Barcelona - from Sebastian Peri Brusa - NYYC AM Recon Unit

NYYC AM rolled out Magic at 08.45 and America at 09:20. Both AC40s on LEQ12 mode.

Magic with the same foils’ configuration to the past two weeks, with foil wing and flap #1 on the port side and #4 on the starboard side, while America´s foils were switched during the weekend. Foil wing and flap #2 are now on the port side, while foil and wing #3 are on the starboard side.

Magic was craned to the water at 09:15hrs, and then America followed at 09:45hrs. Both boats docked out at 10:55hrs, as planned.

One-design main sails were selected for both boats, which were hoisted at 11:10hrs while coming out of the port. Once out, one-design J3s were hoisted at 11:20hrs.

Today´s training consisted mainly about coping with the conditions.

A disorganized and building 0.60-meter swell from the ENE prevailed during the training session, combined with a shifty ENE breeze from anywhere in between 30° to 90° in direction and oscillating in intensity from 11kts to 15 kts. All these, under a rainy, cloudy, and grey day.

At 11:45kts both boats were ready to start the first speed test of the day. One upwind and one downwind were carried out. Nothing conclusive could be extracted from this speed-test.

It was very hard to get both boats sailing either upwind or downwind on VMG for a longer period than three minutes, without any of them ventilating and nose-diving; or just having to stop for any other reason. Specially on the downwind, both boats ventilated and nosedived multiple times.

At 12:25hrs there was a break until 12:45hrs in which another upwind was carried out, practicing some tacks. Approximately a 70% of the tacks were completely foiling, on both boats.

At 13.00hrs Magic stopped and stayed half an hour next to one of the team´s chase boats with shore team members coming onboard, going under the deck through the front hatch. Thirty minutes after, Magic was released but just stayed luffing heading to the wind drifting backwards for one more hour approximately. Probably, there was a particular issue on Magic that could not be identified from the Recon Unit chase boat. However, Magic ended up being able to return to the port sailing downwind, foiling.

In the meantime, from 13:30hrs onwards, the training continued onboard America mainly sailing downwind, ventilating multiple times and nosediving. Bearing away seemed like a real challenge and there were two times in which they were very close to capsize.

Both boats ended up entering the port almost at the same time, around 14:40hrs. They lowered sails at 14:55hrs and docked at 15:10hrs. Magic was craned out at 15:55hrs and America followed at 16:05hrs.

Not the best day for fine foil-testing.

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC40 x 2 - October 16, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Overcast 21°C
  • Wind Strength: 10kts- 15kts
  • Wind Direction: 070° - 090°
  • Sea State: 0.5mtr, Choppy
  • Crane In: 0915hrs(Magic) 0945hrs (America) Dock Out: 1055hrs Both Magic and America
  • Dock In: 1508hrs(Magic) 1508hrs (America) Crane out: 1535hrs(Magic) 1605hrs (America)
  • Total Tacks: 14 - Fully foiling: 10; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 14 - Fully foiling: 9; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 2

Crew: America: Harry Melges (stb) / Paul Goodison (port), Andrew Cambpell (stb) / Michael Menninger (port). Magic: Lucas Calabrese (stb), Terry Hutchinson, Severin Gramm (stb) / Riley Gibbs (port)

Weather Observations - Port Olimpic - 16 October, 2023

A testing day in Barcelona, showing that the 37th America's Cup Match might not just be a walk in the park - weatherwise. Surprisingly given the sea state, the breeze was only 15kts from a NE direction and was relatively steady in direction.

The wave height peaked at .8mtrs on the America's Cup wave buoy. Teams that sailed close to the sea wall at Barcelona experienced the notorious back wash.

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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