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Cup Spy Nov 30-Dec 3: Training continues for Italians and resumes for Swiss

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 4 Dec 2023 16:58 PST 6 December 2023
Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40/LEQ12 - Day 64 - December 3, 2023 - Jeddah, Saudi Arabia © Alex Carabi / America's Cup

Luna Rossa sailed on two successive days while the Preliminary Event was under way in Jeddah. It was a big effort from the two support teams. Alinghi Red Bull Racing resumed sailing their two AC40s out of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

What happened in the Cup - November 30- December 3, 2023:

  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - continued their testing program in Cagliari, using their LEQ12, and the established 2021 America's Cup co-helm combination of Jimmy Spithill and Francesco Bruni, while the #2 team of Marco Gradoni and Ruggero Tita were the surprise package in the second Preliminary Event in Jeddah.
  • American Magic - competed in the second Preliminary Event in Jeddah, with disappointing results.
  • INEOS Britannia - competed in the second Preliminary Event in Jeddah, also with disappointing results.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand - competed in the second Preliminary Event in Jeddah, with disappointing results, winning the event, but with a few work-ons.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing - competed in the second Preliminary Event in Jeddah, turning in a performance that was better than most expected.
  • Orient Express Racing Team - competed in the second Preliminary Event in Jeddah, while it was their second competitive racing experience, they did not really improve over the first Preliminary Event. They are also competing as a crew/team on the SailGP circuit. AC40 unfamiliarity is not really an excuse, as others had little AC40 practice before the event.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 x2 - Day 64 - December 3, 2023 - Jeddah

Alinghi Red Bull Racing commenced their day with the AC40-7 (BLACK) being towed from the Jeddah Yacht Club back to their base at Obhur, arriving at 09:00hrs. The AC40-4 (RED) was rolled out at 10:00hrs and subsequently craned into the water. Standard pre-sailing checks were carried out, and both One Design (OD) and LE sails were prepared, ahead of 12:30hrs dock out.

For the day's light wind sail testing, the M1-3 LE mainsail and J1-3 LE jib were hoisted on the Red boat, while the Black boat hoisted the M1-3 OD mainsail (used in the Jeddah Preliminary Regatta) and the J1-4 LE jib. The crew combinations were mixed up for the day compared to the usual crew list.

Stint 1 (13:10hrs - 13:40hrs): 6-7.5kts 275 degrees @ 13:05hrs, 4-6kts 240 degrees @ 13:40hrs

The yachts were towed to the racing area off the Jeddah Waterfront, with sailing starting at 13:10hrs. In the light wind conditions, both boats required tow starts. Side by side, the boats sailed North upwind, with the Red boat initially displaying better performance. The Black boat lost flight, while the Red boat continued on, touching down only on a tack. Subsequent tow starts saw the Red boat falling off the foils after a few minutes, and the Black boat continued until a lull caused it to lose flight. Both boats were then towed downwind back to the starting point.

Stint 2 (13:45hrs- 14:25hrs): 4-6kts 240 degrees @ 13:40hrs, 4-6kts 280 degrees @ 14:25hrs Another series of tow starts saw both boats sailing low angles upwind side by side, often changing windward and leeward positions for better testing references. The Red boat fell first, followed by the Black boat touching down on a tack. A final tow start lined up both boats for one last stretch, but the wind continued to die, leading to the Red boat dropping off the foils first, and the Black boat not long after.

The session was concluded at 14:30hrs due to the lack of wind, and both boats were towed back to the base. The team spent two hours on the water, of which 70 minutes were spent sailing (including towing/tow starts). All attempts at foiling manoeuvres were not successful.

Crew: Arnaud Psarofaghis (10), Maxime Bachelin (01), Nico Charbonnier (04), Dean Barker (02)

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 x2 - Day 64 - December 3, 2023 - Jeddah

  • Weather: Overcast 34 degrees C
  • Wind Strength: 4-7kts
  • Wind Direction: 240 degrees-280 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.2mtr
  • Crane In: 1025hrs Dock Out: 1230hrs
  • Dock In: 1440hrs Crane out: 1500/1535hrs
  • Total Tacks: 3 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 3
  • Total Gybes: 0 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) - LEQ12 - Day 104 - December 01, 2023 - Cagliari

The Italian team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli rolled out their LEQ12 prototype at 09:30hrs, proceeding with mast stepping procedure and craning the yacht in by 09:40hrs.

Wing04 was mounted on port arm while Wing01 on starboard arm with some strips distributed over the flap. Dockout was scheduled for 12:30hrs and the team conducted several structural tests on different load cases and main car positions. The main M1-2 was then locked in the mast fittings and the LEQ12 was then towed at 20-23kts south towards Pula where the models showed some decent pressure.

Once there, the main was paired with the J4-1 as the shifty pressure was measured at 15-17kts from 205 degrees with similar but lighter off-axis swell overlapped to chop.

In these conditions it was again quite challenging and almost not feasible to follow the LEQ12 closely and even anticipating its course for proper footage. Six6 crews boarded the prototype which was then towed up foilborne on port tack at the beginning of the first foiling stint sailing high and slow at a minimum foiling speed.

After building a bit, the LEQ12 tacked but fell hullborne from port to starboard tack with lots of water spray coming vertically from the rudder. A quick debrief for the sailors followed which then self took the LEQ12 on starboard tack and started sailing upwind for a while, still very slow and close hauled.

Several touch and go take off were observed during these runs before the yacht bore away on starboard tack heading downwind for a long run, gybing and dropping the windward board several times before trimming back up and stopping.

After sailors debriefed shortly, another tow take off was observed and the yacht sailed upwind for a long straight line run heading further south with some occasionally tacks. At approx 14:00hrs, awaiting for the bear away to gather some downwind footage, an engine on the Recon Unit RIB was lost and hence missing footage or data of the second training half returning to port at 16:00hrs when the yacht was on cradle.

[Michele Melis AC Recon].

Crew: Jimmy Spithill, Francesco Bruni, Andrea Tesei, Jacopo Plazzi

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa - LEQ12 - Day 104 - December 01, 2023 - Cagliari

  • Weather: Sunny 23 degreesC
  • Wind Strength 13-17kts
  • Wind Direction: 210 degrees-215 degrees
  • Sea State: Wind swell 0.5mte
  • Crane In: 0945hrs Dock Out: 1230hrs
  • Dock In: 1600hrs Crane out: 1630hrs
  • Total Tacks: 9 - Fully foiling: 6; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 1 - Fully foiling: 1; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) - LEQ12 - Day 103 - November 30, 2023 - Cagliari

The Italian team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli rolled out their LEQ12 prototype at 11:00hrs, proceeding with mast stepping procedure and craning the yacht in by 12:35hrs.

Wing04 was mounted on port arm while Wing01 on starboard arm. Routine checks followed and dockout was scheduled for 12:00hrs after having locked in mainsail M1-2 and hoisting the J2-2 for the whole session.

The pressure was measured at 16-18kn from 190 TWA with offset axis swell overlapped to significant chop from 215 degrees with approx.7m waves. With the replacement RU rib in these difficult conditions, it was challenging and almost not feasible to follow the LEQ12 closely and even anticipating its course for proper footage today.

Six crew boarded the prototype which was then towed up foilborne on port tack at the beginning of the first foiling stint sailing high and slow on this tack. After tacking straight line sailing prevailed with some occasional tacks, before bearing away on port tack and heading downwind for a long run.

While trimming up on two boards to head back upwind on starboard tack the LEQ12 splashed down. Quickly towed up again, the yacht sailed upwind and fell hullborne again transiting from port to starboard tack hitting a wave on the bow. Once up and foiling, the yacht headed south looking for more breeze as locally it seemed to decrease being quite patchy. With more encountered pressure, the LEQ12 executed some bear away and round-ups before heading downwind for another longer run with some occasional two boards time.

A single self take off was observed after the yacht came hullborne sailing upwind, taking the the chance to practice it on port tack. Up and foiling, the yacht bore away and headed back towards Cagliari completing two additional gybes before entering an area without any pressure. Hence, sails were lowered by 13:55hrs and the day was called with approx. 74 minutes of foiling, approx. 12 tacks and 3 gybes. [Michele Melis AC Recon].

Crew: Jimmy Spithill, Francesco Bruni, Andrea Tesei, Paolo Simion (Cyclor).

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa - LEQ12 - Day 103 - November 30, 2023 - Cagliari

  • Weather: Sunny 23 degreesC
  • Wind Strength 13-17kts
  • Wind Direction: 190 degrees- 195 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.7mtr 215 degrees
  • Crane In: 1100hrs Dock Out: 1200hrs
  • Dock In: 1420hrs Crane out: 1500hrs
  • Total Tacks: 12 - Fully foiling: 4; Touch & Go: 5; Touch Down: 3
  • Total Gybes: 3 - Fully foiling: 2; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1

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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