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Cup Spy Nov 21: The Last Waltz before Jeddah

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 21 Nov 2023 02:45 PST 20 November 2023
Down the end of Cup Spy's street - Emirates Team New Zealand - AC40 - Day 46 - Auckland - November 21, 2023 © Sam Thom/America's Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand continued with their evaluation of two test wing foils, and their second mainsail.

They caught the morning breeze before it started to fade around midday, on Tuesday.

The Kiwis opted to sail on Course C area, the seldom used Stadium Course for the 2021 America's Cup. Unusually the breeze was from the SE to South - blowing straight out of Mission Bay, with little landmass to distort it.

This allowed them to sail directly across the breeze getting data on one test foil before flipping onto the reciprocal course and going back the other way. Today was a great day for it, with little apparent variation in the wind pressure - none of the wind streaks and squall lines that have been so obvious on other days and other directions of wind.

Burns Fallow a long-time sail designer for New Zealand Challenge, Team New Zealand and now Emirates Team New Zealand, was on-board the chase-boat and gave his perspective on the rather tedious, but necessary test-sailing process. "Every day we go out to slightly different conditions. And every day you learn a little bit more."

Fallow's key focus is obviously sails, and makes the point that "the next sails we design are the real thing (for the AC75 Raceboat)."

"We only get to design six more main sails in the campaign - on the big boat. And so whatever we can stretch out of this [LEQ12] phase is useful."

"There certainly are limitations, because the mast, is obviously very different from the big boat mast, but there are there are aspects that we do chase down look at.

"You do have to take it with a grain of salt developing too much on LEQ12," he added, echoing a healthy degree of sceptics held by many, as to the degree of cross-over from the near half size 39ft 4" test boats to the 69ft race boats. This is the first Cup where near half-sized test boats have been used for full sized development. In previous Cups full size or near full-size testing is permitted, as has been two-boat testing.

Quizzed as to what he thinks of the design direction, the sail designer who has been on load to every Kiwi AC team, bar one, since his first on KZ-7 in Fremantle in the '87 Cup, continues with his healthy skepticism.

"We haven't really seen much new because anyone who's been sailing an old AC75 has had to use old sails. So yes, there's been a bit of re-cutting and people trying different systems and things like that.

"So really, the cards don't get shown until someone throws one of these new boats in the water, and then that will be interesting."

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Emirates Team New Zealand- AC40/LEQ12 - Day 46 - November 21, 2023 - Auckland

Today was the final testing day for Emirates Team New Zealand ahead of the Preliminary Regatta of the 37th America’s Cup which will take place in Jeddah.

Day 46 of the LEQ test boat was champagne sailing. A dying breeze from the South was forecast, and although it did drop slightly through the session, the lowest windspeed average we saw on the stations was around 10 - 11kts.

Sails were hoisted off North Head, going with the M-2 and J-3 to start. Average wind speed was around 13-14kts with gusts to 16 at times from around 165°-170°. The team started sailing at 10:04hrs and kept their entire training session in the vicinity of the Rangitoto Channel, and as far up to Bastion Reef area off St Heliers. [S-W: Course B, C and D from the 2021 America's Cup.]

A lot of today’s session was spent looking upwards at sail trim. It was interesting to see how long the team stayed sailing with the smaller J3 down range. They did not seem to have any trouble manoeuvring with the smaller sail, however. The manoeuvres today, although less than some other sessions, were flawless with all but a 360 turn being fully foiling. The yacht and the crew were working well and looked very locked in as they sailed various up winds and down winds in the training area.

At 11:15hrs the call was finally made to swap to the larger J2 Jib. By 11:18hrs after a Jib change and a snack, the team were back sailing.

Breeze had dropped to around 10 - 12kts by this stage. From this point on they practiced mostly pre-start drills, extending out upwind and back after a few of them. I’m sure the team were very keen to do a few of these to get their timing and teamwork in sync leading up to the regatta in Jeddah.

After five successful pre start drills, the team decided to call it a day and headed up to Mechanics Bay to drop sails at 11:53hrs. The on-water team all looked happy, joking around with each other as they docked in and headed for the base. It seems it was another successful day on the water, and the last until after Jeddah. We were lucky enough to catch up with sail designer Burns Fellow after sailing today to get his feelings on this latest test block for ETNZ.

Crew: Peter Burling, Nathan Outteridge, Andy Maloney, Blair Tuke

Session Statistics: Emirates Team New Zealand- AC40/LEQ12 - Day 46 - November 21, 2023 - Auckland

  • Weather: Sunny - 22°C
  • Wind Strength 9-14kts
  • Wind Direction: 165° - 180°
  • Sea State: Flat
  • Crane In: 0830hrs Dock Out: 0930hrs
  • Dock In: 1215hrs Crane out: 1245kts
  • Total Tacks: 26 - Fully foiling: 26; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 21 - Fully foiling: 21; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

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