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Cup Spy Nov 13: An early shower for three teams - Swiss only team to complete a full session

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 15 Nov 04:30 PST 14 November 2023
Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 101 - Barcelona - November 13, 2022 © Alex Carabi / America's Cup

Three Northern Hemisphere AC teams sailed on Monday in Barcelona. The Brits continued sailing "T6". The Swiss switched to their AC75, after a week sailing on the Red Sea. In Barcelona, American Magic had some issues with their AC75 on the water,

What happened in the Cup - November 13, 2023:

  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing - sailed their AC75 from Barcelona, testing a new mainsheet system, as well using a legacy rudder from ETNZ.
  • INEOS Britannia - The Brits sailing T6 had two hours of sailing before pulling up with rudder damage - bringing the session to an end.
  • American Magic - had more issues, attempting one takeoff which was aborted. There were control issues while under tow, and while preparing to hoist the decision was taken at 1600hrs to call it a day, and the session ended.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand - Soon after beginning sailing, the Kiwis had issues with control systems with the port wing foil causing the AC40 to be craned out - some remedial work attempted, but that too failed, and the session was abandoned.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - Did not sail.
  • Orient Express Racing Team - Their AC40 is en route to Jeddah.
  • All teams are/have shipped AC40s to Jeddah for the second Preliminary Event at the end of November. No further official update on security concerns.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 101 - November 13, 2023 - Barcelona

Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out their AC75 at 09:15hrs. The mast was stepped and the yacht was craned into the water by 10:00hrs. The old ETNZ rudder, identified as "AC75_R0_0003" was used today as well as the new mainsheet system.

The Flight Control System (FCS) and sail control systems were tested, with the team all using their on-water communication headsets to do so. The team docked out at 12:00hrs, with Nico Charbonnier and Rodney Ardern in the starboard and port guest seats, respectively, and assuming Nico C to rotate helm in the middle of the day.

The M2-2R mainsail and J3-1R jib were raised while still in port, with particular attention given to the mainsail control systems at the clew. The wind conditions fluctuated throughout the day, ranging from 10-13kn from 195° to 12-15 knots at 210°, before settling back to 10-13 knots at 195°. The sea state was primarily from the S/SSW, with wave heights between 0.5 to 0.8 meters and a period of 4-5 seconds.

The first stint began at 12:50hrs, as the yacht was sailed downwind with both boards down and sails open, executing four gybes, before coming to a stop at the Forum. Here, a battery was brought onboard, and the J3 jib was exchanged for the J4-1R, with Rodney Ardern seen inspecting the mainsheet system from the transom.

During the second stint, the team completed two laps of the 2NM course (oriented at 210) followed by preparations for pre-start practice. The third stint involved a starboard entry pre-start, with one and a half laps sailed. However, the session was briefly interrupted after a gybe led to a touchdown. This incident brought the crew together at the jib clew and jib track, working on the jib sheeting system.

A notable change in the crew was the cyclor rotation, with Nils Theuninck and Augustin Maillefer replacing Barnabe Delarze and Arthur Cevey.

The fourth stint saw a short upwind sail of two tacks, followed by a downwind course to the start gate. The team faced a control issue during a starboard entry gybe into the pre-start box, as the team aborted the manoeuvre by touching down and heading dead downwind before turning back upwind, resuming sailing after recovering. The yacht then completed an upwind course, rounding the windward mark, and returning downwind to the leeward gate, concluding with a port rounding and a brief pause.

The fifth and final stint saw the team sail briefly downwind and a subsequent pause following a touchdown on the second gybe. The team then proceeded upwind towards the port entrance, and called it a day.

Sails were lowered by 15:40hrs, marking the end of the session.

After four hours on the water and 90 minutes of sailing, the team docked in at 16:00hrs. The team performed a total of 52 manoeuvres, with 85% of them being fully foiling.

Post-session activities included further inspection of the mainsheet system by Rodney Ardern alongside Elliot Pilcher, the hydraulics technician. Additionally, the day saw a change in hydraulic fluids coinciding with the rig being lifted off.

Report from AC37 Joint Recon Team

Sailing Crew: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin, Nico Charbonnier, Nico Rolaz, Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75- Day 101 - November 13, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunny, 24°. Part cloudy
  • Wind Strength 10-15kts
  • Wind Direction: 195° - 210°
  • Sea State: 0.5 - 0.8mtrs SSW
  • Crane In: 0950hrs Dock Out: 1200hrs
  • Dock In: 1555hrs Crane out: 1620hrs
  • Total Tacks: 32 - Fully foiling: 28; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 20 - Fully foiling: 16; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 3

American Magic - AC75 - Day 49 - November 13, 2023 - Barcelona

The Americans' second week of sailing their previous-generation AC75 got off to a frustrating start today after technical issues on board prevented the boat from getting airborne for the entire three and a half hour session which took place in 13-15 knot southerly winds and a sea state ranging light chop to steep heavy chop up to 0.5 metre.

The boat rolled out at 1015hrs and was rigged and launched by 1047hrs when the regular group of laptop-carrying technicians jumped on board to conduct two hours of pre-sailing checks. Particular attention appeared to being given to the jib traveller and sheeting setup.

Dockout was at 1300hrs and by 1330hrs the boat left the harbour flying the MN8 mainsail and J3-6 headsail. The wind at this point was 13-15 knots from 180 degrees with a building sea state. The crew's initial take off attempt on starboard looked uncontrolled – requiring the windward foil to be dropped briefly – and was quickly aborted on the edge of a pack of 10 anchored container ships.

Perhaps due to shallower water in this area, the sea state quickly became much steeper (up to 0.5 m) – which made taking off even more difficult for the American Magic crew.

The boat sailed in displacement mode at around 8-10 knots to the south east for 55 minutes and on several occasions looked to be primed and accelerating for a takeoff attempt, before slowing down again. A couple of times the boat heeled steeply to leeward before regaining stability.

At 1425hrs and with the seastate much reduced (sub 0.3 m), the boat stopped for a rib to come alongside and the sails were dropped for the boat to be towed downwind to a spot close to the harbour entrance.

The tow started on foils but after 10 minutes the crew appeared to lose control, with the boat going steeply bow up before crashing down and coming off the tow. The second part of the tow was conducted in displacement mode.

After stopping at 1550hrs the sailors prepped the mainsail and looked ready to re-hoist, but at 1600 the sail was disconnected and the boat put on a bow tow home. Dock in took place at 1625. Sailing has been scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday November 14).

Report from from Sebastian Peri Brusa - AC37 Joint Recon Team

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC75 - Day 49 - November 13, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunny spells 22° C
  • Wind Strength: 13kts - 15kts
  • Wind Direction: 180° - 190°
  • Sea State: Steep chop 0.5metres
  • Crane In: 1047hrs Dock Out: 1256hrs
  • Dock In: 1625hrs Crane out: 1700hrs
  • Total Tacks: 0 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 0 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

INEOS Britannia - LEQ12 - Day 84 - November 13, 2023 - Barcelona

Team INEOS Britannia (INEOS) rolled out their LEQ12 "T6" at 09:30hrs, with foil wing and flap #1 on the port side, foil wing and flap #2 on the starboard side, and with the LEQ R01 rudder.

Two more Go-Pro cameras were added, one on each rail ahead of the jib track, close to the jib´s clew position, pointing up. Probably to take pictures of the jib´s leech and profile.

On the other hand, the lower of the three patches that were on the front face of the mast got removed.

T6 was craned to the water at 10:10hrs and the team docked out at 11:37hrs, seven minutes later than planned. The shore team had to work on the cables and connectors of the anemometer on the bow, that required the stick to be removed and then reinstalled.

The MN2-2 mainsail and J4-2 jib were selected for today´s session and were the only sails used during the day. This main has a considerable narrower head when compared to the MN1-3 used during the past week. In addition, this MN2-2 saw a cover added on both sides of the clew since its last use. Sails were hoisted at 11:55, and at 12:15hrs, respectively, before coming out from the port.

INEOS started sailing at 12:40hrs, after staying heading to the wind for a while just outside of the port. Nothing in particular could be identified during this 20-minute stop.

From 12:40hrs till 14:10hrs four downwind – upwind were carried out, performing four to five gybes and three to four tacks, respectively. The length of the legs were a little bit longer than the standard racing distance for this wind conditions.

In medium wind conditions, the boat continues to be sailed almost completely upright when sailing upwind, with the leeward wing tip out of the water on an 80% to 90% of the time, and it called my attention that they sail with very little forestay sag.

The main traveler continues to be played pretty aggressively up and down, to work the boat balance.

At 14:10hrs there was a fifteen-minute short break in which a batteries replacement was executed.

Sailing continued at 14:25hrs with one short upwind-downwind. At the end of the downwind on the last gybe, the team nosedived hard ending up heading to the wind, not far from capsizing. Five minutes later, the same happened again, and that was the moment when apparently the repaired rudder got damaged.

INEOS stopped completely, one of their chase boats came along and one person was sent to the water to dive and inspect the rudder. Once out, they decided to suspend sailing for the day.

T6 lowered the jib at 14:44 and the mainsail at 14.56. After folding both sails, the boat was towed back to the base, docking at 15:48. The boat was craned out at 16:15, indicating the end of the day.

INEOS will assess the situation and proceed as required.

Post Script: Unfortunately, apparently there was structural damage on the rudder and maybe also in rudder case. No sailing planned for the next days.

Sebastian Peri Brusa – AC37 Joint Recon Team on INEOS Britannia

Crew: Dylan Fletcher/Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott, Luke Parkinson, Neil Hunter, Leigh McMillan

Session Statistics: INEOS Britannia - LEQ12 - Day 84 - November 13, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunny, 24°.
  • Wind Strength 12-14kts
  • Wind Direction: 185°-195°
  • Sea State: 0.7mtr swell, light chop
  • Crane In: 1010hrs Dock Out: 1137hrs
  • Dock In: 1548hrs Crane out: 1615hrs
  • Total Tacks: 18 - Fully foiling: 18; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 25 - Fully foiling: 20; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 3

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. 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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