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Cup Spy Nov 6: USA reveals 'new' AC75. Challengers sail in three countries. Kiwis out in Auckland

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 6 Nov 2023 16:26 PST 7 November 2023
American Magic - AC75 - Day 45 - Barcelona - November 6, 2023 © Ugo Fonolla / America's Cup

Three America's Cup teams sailed in Cagliari, Barcelona and Jeddah. A fourth American Magic rolled out their AC75 Patriot, in Barcelona but did not sail. The Kiwis sailed on Tuesday November 7. (Update in the Final edition of this report.)

What happened in the Cup - November 6, 2023:

  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing - sailed their two AC40s from Jeddah, venue for the next America's Cup Preliminary Regatta.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand - The New Zealanders were out today (November 7) sailing their LEQ12 on the Waitemata. The America's Cup Defenders completed their program in Barcelona for 2023. The sailing team will return to Jeddah for the AC37 Preliminary Regatta to be held at the end of November.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - The Italians sailed their LEQ12 test boat for the first time since October 22.
  • INEOS Britannia - The Brits were back on the water in their test boat/LEQ12 T6 a month after suffering catastrophic damage to their rudder during a tow test
  • American Magic - As predicted American Magic rolled out their AC75 Patriot, however it was a commissioning exercise only and did not sail.
  • Orient Express Racing Team - No report from the AC37 Joint Recon team
  • All teams are/have shipped AC40s to Jeddah for the second Preliminary Event at the end of November. Organisers will obviously be monitoring the security and war situation in the surrounding territories, before giving the teams a green light to travel to the venue. However Alinghi Red Bull Racing has already made the move.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - November 6, 2023 - Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - AC37 Joint Recon Unit

Alinghi Red Bull Racing initiated operations with the rollout of their AC40-4 (Yellow) and AC40-7 (Red) at 09:30hrs and 09:55hrs respectively, at their base in Obhur Creek, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Masthead-mounted GoPros were installed on the rigging of both boats for sail monitoring. Control boxes were noticed on the inboard sides of the Yellow boat's steering wheels, however in the post sailing interview, Arnaud P claimed they were not in use today.

The recon unit think this is part of the controls for the manual FCS (Flight Control System), previously tested on the Yellow boat in Barcelona prior to shipping the yachts to Jeddah.

Following launch, the team conducted hydraulic canting system checks alongside the chaseboat, towed a few meters off the dock. A canopy was installed on both decks to mitigate the effects of the 32? heat during work sessions. Electronics technicians were observed seemingly addressing the communication systems on the red boat. Sailing activities for the red boat were subsequently cancelled due to extended maintenance.

Wind conditions varied from 9-15 knots coming from 290 to 295 degrees throughout the day, with a sea state described as flat with a 0.3m chop.

The primary sailing team transitioned to the yellow boat, which docked out at 13:20, hoisted the M1-2 LE mainsail and J2-1 LE jib, and commenced sailing at 13:45. After the jib clew sheet position was adjusted following a couple minutes sailing, the team continued on a 35-minute stint, sailing between Obhur and Jeddah Waterfront. During a pause leeward of the racecourse, the M1-2 LE mainsail was replaced with the M1-1 LE.

In the second stint, the team engaged in a pre-start sequence and long upwind-downwind stretches to evaluate the M1-1 LE mainsail. The leeward shrouds were noticeably loose during this stint, with substantial movement of the leeward spreader observed. The team subsequently exchanged the J2 jib to J3-1 LE jib, as well as rotated sailors from the alternate team.

The third stint started with a take-off at a 90° angle, with the J3 jib exhibiting signs of being underpowered, also noticeable during manoeuvres. The focus remained on a series of successive tacks.

Gautier Sergeant, Lead Aero Engineer, was present on the chase boat, observing the LE sails performance in practice. Also on the chase boat was Silvio Arrivabene and Brad Butterworth.

Overall, the team covered 49 nautical miles in three and a half hours on the water, with 85 minutes of sailing time. Out of 60 manoeuvres completed, 89% were fully foiling.

Emirates Team New Zealand - AC75 - November 7, 2023 - Auckland - AC37 Joint Recon Unit

After some time away from the LEQ12, it was good to see it back out on the water with some new additions.

The boat rolled out of the shed with a brand new port foil and different sensor/gate setup on the starboard foil with an extra stripe painted on. Roll out was at 1020hrs and was craned into the water at 1125hrs. Looked to be some delays in stepping the rig possibly due to a new rigging set up. Dock checks happened fairly quickly which included a couple of FCS [Foil Control Systems] tests and general checks. The team departed the dock at 1230 and tow foiled down the harbour and set up to hoist the sails off Mechanics Bay.

Slow main hoist with someone sent up the rig to possibly check starboard skin lock? Wind speed started off around 8-10kts building to 12-13 knots further down the harbour with ideal flat water testing conditions.

The team started sailing at 1315hrs gybing their way down the harbour before a short reach on port around North Head and then sailed up the Rangitoto Channel doing a couple of tacks before coming to a stop off Wakatere at 1340hrs.

Side note: Two out of three of the first tacks onto the new port foil ended in touch downs, seemed like they were easing into it. For the rest of the day all but one tack were full foiling. Off Wakatere (Narrow Neck - just North of North Head) they dropped the jib, looked to change one of the top batten tensions and rehoisted before continuing sailing off of the North Shore and Rangitoto Channel area for the next hour.

The breeze dropped to variable at times but mostly 7 - 10kts, with the gusts peaking at around 11 - 12Kts. The team practiced a few take offs in the lighter air, struggling on both foils at times but seemed more difficult to pop on the port foil in this marginal range. Once up and foiling, all the manouvres were looking good and the boat on both tacks looked smooth and stable. At 1440 the team changed sailing locations and sailed downwind, gybing 5 or 6 times before stopping again in the Motuihe Channel.

Breeze by now had built significantly to an average of around 13-15 kts. The team decided to drop the J2 at 1458hrs and changed to the J3 and rehoisted immediately. From here they sailed a long upwind up to Mechanics Bay, Boat looked locked in especially on the new port foil. Slightly more leeway noticed on a couple of tacks however onto the new port foil. At Mechanics Bay (Inner Waitemata along side the Port) they bore away and returned back down into the Motuihe Channel before coming to a stop at 1539hrs and doing what looked like a battery change.

By this time the breeze had built to average 15-17 kts. Commenced sailing again soon after the stop, practicing some longer runs in the flat water and a few manouvers in the lee of Eastern Beach (The Paddock or Course E for the 2021 America's Cup) before commencing a final upwind sail towards Mechanics Bay with speeds of above 36kts on the new foil at times and a lot of nice tacks on the way.

Again noticed what seemed like more lee way tacking onto the new smaller foil compared to the starboard foil. Boat looked stable and modeing well on both tacks. The sailing session was completed at 1617hrs at Mechanics Bay and the sails were dropped. The boat docked back at the base at 1645hrs and lifted at approximately 1730hrs.

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12 - Day 94 - November 6, 2023 - Cagliari

After two weeks in the shed, the Italian team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) rolled out their LEQ12 prototype at 10:50hrs, stepped mast and craned the yacht in by 12:05hrs.

Regarding the appendage configuration: Wing 03 mounted on starboard while the newest Wing 4 has been mounted on port arm.

Beside some light differences in surface distribution over span, tip angles and flap length over span it looked like a further iteration of Wing03; shots from different perspectives will follow in the upcoming sailing days. During usual dock checks, the team seemed to focus on FCS tests, raising boards really slow and silently before proceeding with the usual speed for drop and rises.

When the yacht was docked out at 12:30hrs with six crew, the conditions looked glassy with some light chop filling in from the South and the team seemed to conduct some tow testing between 20, 25 and 30 knots running through some cant angles on the new wing.

While awaiting for the breeze, several technicians were observed diving below deck while the main M1-1 was hoisted with the newly declared J1.5-2.

To find some pressure, the prototype has been towed along the SW coast offshore of Pula where the breeze looked patchy and was measured from 215TWA 14-16kts with some significant waves of 1metre.

Once released from towline on starboard tack, the prototype sailed a while before tacking and falling hullborne bearing away. Once back on towline, the J1.5 was lowered and instead the newer J2-2 was hoisted. Also the next two foiling stints have not lasted long as, after successfully self taking off and completing a foiling tack, the LEQ12 lost its foiling stability exiting the second tack manuever from port to starboard tack. Another self take off followed, looking quite challenging due to seastate, and after several minutes sailing downwind the LEQ12 came hullborne after hitting a wave.

Then the LEQ12 took off on port tack once again and successfully completed some tacks with longer two-boards transitions before finally bearing away, completing two gybes and splashing down on the last one.

Considering the wind and seastate conditions it has been challenging to follow properly the LEQ12 and anticipate its course for steadier footage.

At 1520hrs the sails have been lowered and the yacht was towed back with a total of 34 foiling minutes, 9 tacks and 3 gybes. [Michele Melis AC Recon].

American Magic - American Magic - AC75 - November 6, 2023 - Barcelona- from Sebastian Peri Brusa - NYYC AM Recon Unit

NYYC American Magic rolled their previous-generation AC75 Patriot out of the shed this morning and after stepping the mast spent the day calibrating the rig – both ashore in the cradle and in the water on the pontoon.

he boat emerged at 1024 with the mast craned on to the boat at 1045hrs with the rigging attached and ready for calibration by 1210hr.

A small number of mast rotation movements were observed while the boat was in the cradle before – after a break for lunch – the boat was craned afloat at 90° to the pontoon at 1353hrs.

More setup and calibration work followed – including more mast rotation (which looked to be powered by cycling) – before the boat was cleared at 1800hrs (20 minutes after sundown) ahead of crane out beginning at 1808hrs, with the boat in the cradle by 1816hrs.

The American AC75 will remain in the shed tomorrow (Tuesday November 7) with the first sailing day scheduled for Wednesday November 8.

INEOS Britannia - LEQ12/T6 - Day 79 - November 6, 2023 - Barcelona

From the AC37 Joint Recon Team (Justin Chisholm)

Team INEOS Britannia rolled out their LEQ12 T6 at 10:00hrs, with foil wing and flap #1 on the port side, and foil wing and flap #2 on the starboard side. The broken LEQ R01 rudder from two weeks ago [S-W: actually it was October 6 - 4 weeks ago] had been repaired and was ready to go.

While rigging the boat, the mast was held up in the air intentionally for some shore team members who performed different kind of checks and preparations for approximately 45 minutes close to the mast base. At 11.45 the mast was stepped and T6 was craned to the water. The team docked out at 13.00hrs, one hour later than scheduled, with Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott, Leigh McMillan and Luke Parkinson.

A possible new main and a potential new J3 were hoisted at 13:20 and 13:45, respectively, while coming out from the port (to be confirmed in the next 48 hours).

Today´s training consisted mainly about testing different control systems, reason why there was not much VMG sailing, a lot of stopping for adjustments, and plenty of sailing on unusual courses, probably to test the controls being used on the ends of their ranges.

Two of the exercises identified were the following: (I) Sail upwind, zigzagging from closed-hauled course to broad reaching course multiple times, on both tacks, adjusting both sails while changing course. (II) Sail reaching on displacement mode on both tacks, with the main traveler all the way down and with the mainsail eased far out.

From 15.00hrs till 16.00hrs there was a long break.

During today´s sessions, we also noticed on multiple times different members of the crew doing manual adjustments on the clew of the main and of the jib. However, it could not be identified what they were specifically moving or adjusting.

Finally at 17.00hrs one upwind and one downwind were performed with the new northerly breeze, just before heading back to the base.

Offshore, shifty conditions prevailed during the entire day varying from 270 to 240 in direction and from 6 to 11 knots in intensity, approximately.

At the end of the day, at 17.05hrs, the wind shifted to the north, picking up to 13 knots.

T6 entered the port at 17:30hrs, sails were lowered at 17:40hrs and the boat was docked at 17:55hrs.

Sebastian Peri Brusa – Recon on INEOS Britannia

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