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Cup Spy Jan 21-22: Kiwis reveal another test foil , Swiss continue in Jeddah, Italy two-boats

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 21 Jan 19:50 PST 22 January 2024
Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 Prototype - Day 57, January 22, 2024 - Auckland © Sam Thom / America's Cup

Unusually two teams sailed on a Sunday. In Jeddah the Swiss had a fifth day of two-boat testing in AC40s. In Cagliari, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had set up a two-boat session in their LEQ12/AC40OD. In Auckland, on Monday, the Kiwis revealed a new test foil - their second in a week.

What happened in the Cup - January 21-22, 2024:

  • Emirates Team New Zealand - Did not sail on Sunday, but they did sail on January 22 in Auckland in a fading morning breeze, testing their second new wing foil in a week.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing - Sailed their two AC40s off Jeddah for the fifth successive day.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - Sailed for just under three hours with their de-tuned LEQ12 against the AC40 in One Design mode. They are presumed to be testing sailing crew combinations ahead of the launch of their race boat in a few months.
  • American Magic - No report - teams don't often sail on a Sunday
  • INEOS Britannia - No report - teams don't often sail on a Sunday
  • Orient Express Racing Team - No report, but expected to start testing foils this week - and will have a recon team assigned to provide video, images and reports.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 - Day 57 - January 22, 2024 - Auckland

Today was Day 57 of testing on the LEQ12 for Emirates Team New Zealand.

An exciting day today as another new foil wing, this time on the port side, was released, this coming just five test days after the release of the new starboard foil.

Both foils are very similar style shapes with slight differences seen mostly in the trailing edge/flap profiles - starboard looking more defined and triangular, where port looks to be slightly more rounded and potentially larger in area although more analysis through the recon photos is needed to be certain of these observations.

The sailing day started with moderate breeze averaging around 15 knots before dropping later in the session to as low as 9 knots at times, but remained mostly around 10-11 knots. Dock out was at 10:00 and the team were back in at 12:55 after a positive session out on the gulf. Sails used today were the M2 main, and J3 jib to start with before changing to the larger J2 later in the session as the breeze dropped.

With new generation and similar foils side to side, the team today were very focused on testing maneuvers and acceleration. Some slightly different turn rates were seen at times, but on the most part it was just a day of dialing in efficient tacks and gybes. As the crew onboard become more confident, they could be seen pushing harder on single board round ups and even round ups with late board drop tacks, all in one smooth turn rate.

All the testing was carried out in the area of Bean Rock to the north of Rangitoto Lighthouse where a yellow harbour marker was being utilised as a top rounding mark. Many late tack bear-aways were seen and the team was looking very confident on this new foil package. The other thing to note is the fact that there was literally no learning curve on this new port foil. Obviously, the controls and human input issues in the first days of the new starboard foil have been learnt and were crossed over to the port foil as well.

Towards the end of the session, breeze dropped significantly to the point where there were a couple of lulls in which the yacht was unable to foil. As soon as there was a puff of 10-11knots, however, the yacht popped up onto the foils with relative ease. This gives credit to the low end lift these new foils seem to be able to manage.

After ending the session with a multitude of manoeuvres, the team finished up the session with a long port downwind/reach back up the harbour where sails were dropped just off the viaduct at 12:45.

After the team docked in today, we were lucky enough to grab Flight Controller, Andy Maloney for a quick interview and ask him a few questions about the session and the new configuration.


Peter Burling, Nathan Outteridge, Andy Maloney, Blair Tuke

Session Statistics: Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 - Day 56 - January 22, 2024 - Auckland

  • Weather: 24 degrees C Overcast
  • Wind Strength: 10-15kts
  • Wind Direction: 160 degrees - 170 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.1mtr
  • Crane In: 0915hrs Dock Out: 1000hrs
  • Dock In: 1245hrs Crane out: 1315hrs
  • Total Tacks: 31 - Fully foiling: 29; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 20 - Fully foiling: 20; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) - LEQ12 - Day 113 - January 21, 2023 - Cagliari

The Italian team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli rolled out their AC40 (White) at 08:30hrs and their LEQ12 (Red) at 08:55hrs, stepped masts and craned in respectively at 08:50hrs and 09:10hrs.

On the Red yacht, both wings were equipped with two Go-pros each. The foil arm boot of port Wing04 seemed to have been shortened in length slightly (to be confirmed), fix winglets were back on Wing01 tips without any flap extension and the [rudder] elevator looked brought back to declared rudder version A or B. Compared to previous days, two helms swapped before dock out at 10:00hrs. The forecast looked promising with 10-12 kt from 305 degrees and flat waters. Mainsail M1-2 was paired to Jib J2-2 on Red and M1 OD was paired to J2 OD on White.

On the first stint, AC40 (White) was quickly foilborne self-launching while LEQ12 (Red) was towed up on port tack, tacked and bore away downwind. In the meanwhile the course was being set up and the yachts started sailing around the leeward gate in and out the virtual box. After two individual starts, Red and White tested the course sailing an upwind and a downwind leg. All chase boats, inclusive RU, were placed on pin as requested by the team.

The first official prestart was observed at 10:50hrs with White on port and Red on starboard entries. Red sailed towards the higher right hand box side and when it bore away White chased Red but it struggled slightly trimming back upwind. With better time on distance, Red yacht won the first prestart, sailed half leg and stopped becoming hullborne. The pressure seemed to be shifting to 315 degrees and decreasing to 7-9kts and so the team dropped the J2-2 to hoist the J1.5-2 on Red while the OD J2 kept flying on White.

Overall it seemed that White (AC40) was definitely able to match the boat speeds of Red (LEQ12) in light air, perhaps also due to its lighter weight and easier handling. Afterwards, a second prestart was observed with White on port and Red on starboard entry. Both yachts sailed towards the higher right hand side and engaged aggressively when Red seemed to push White. White managed to gain speed down the line, both yachts started on time and Red tacked right away.

The yachts sailed half way upwind before bearing away to repeat the prestart drill. On the third, White managed a better time on distance and started six seconds ahead of red. Once both yachts crossed the line, White protected its side matching Red at every tack. Both yachts sailed towards the right hand side boundary to tack and bore away on the left hand side windward mark.

There, White rounded approx 3 seconds ahead and won the race downwind. White stopped while Red continued practicing several maneuvers as the pressure was decreasing to 6-8kn. Once Red was hullborne, sailors debriefed and shore crew electricians entered the hatch to have a check. The OD J2 was then dropped to hoist the J1 on White while J1.5-2 was dropped to hoist the J1-1 on Red.

Both yachts were towed up at 12:10hrs and on all following prestarts drills Red had port entry. The fourth prestart was won by White as Red fell from the foils. Back foilborne by tow, Red managed to barely stay up exiting the gybe and entered the box. On this fifth prestart, Red seemed to have the upper hand after being chased and starting on time with White several seconds late.

During the sixth prestart, White fell hullborne and Red started ahead.

On the seventh and last prestart of the day, the yachts engaged closer, Red managed to start ahead squeezing White down the line forcing an early tack to bail from dirt and split the course. Red sailed off and was leading on the first cross but loosing quickly the lead distance. As both yachts were approaching the windward gate, they sailed apart outside boundary.

The breeze was dropping further and leeward gate marks were being collected.

Before both yachts could engage further, Red came hullborne exiting a gybe and the day was called for the LEQ12.

The AC40 kept on sailing to train some youth sailors.

Sails were lowered on the Red yacht with approximately 104 minutes foiling time and approx. 32 tacks and 28 gybes [Michele Melis AC Recon].

Crew: Marco Gradoni, Ruggero Tita, Frederico Colaninno, Francesco Bruni, Jimmy Spithill, Umberto Mollineris, Vittorio Bissaro, Andrea Tesel

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) - LEQ12 - Day 113 - January 21, 2023 - Cagliari

  • Weather: Sunny 7 degreesC
  • Wind Strength 7-12kts
  • Wind Direction: 305 degrees-315 degrees
  • Sea State: Flat
  • Crane In: 0850hrs/0910hrs Dock Out: 1000hrs
  • Dock In: 1310hrs Crane out:
  • Total Tacks: 32 - Fully foiling: 28; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 28 - Fully foiling: 25; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 2

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 OD & LEQ12 - Day 70 - January 21, 2024 - Jeddah

Alinghi Red Bull Racing lined up three match races for their sixth consecutive sailing day. The AC40-7 (Black) and AC40-4 (Red) were rolled out at 08:45hrs and 09:00hrs respectively. The red vinyl on the bowsprit of the AC40-4 (Red) has been removed. Both boats were in the water by 09:20hrs and standard checks were carried out.

Hydraulics and electronics techs carried out traveller and mast rotation tests on both boats. GoPros were mounted on the transoms, indicating rudder analysis. The safety diver practiced rescue drills with a few team members.

The team docked out at 12:30hrs with One Design mainsails and J2 LEQ12 jibs prepared on both boats. The J2 jibs were replaced with J3 LE jibs before hoisting. Crew combinations remained the same, with Arnaud Psarofaghis and Maxime Bachelin helming the Red boat, Phil Robertson and Nico Charbonnier helming the Black AC40s.

Stint 1 (13:00 - 13:20hrs, 10-14kts 280 degrees @ 13:00hrs) The team set off to the race course. One lap of the course was sailed as a warmup as well a few practice starts, which the two teams practiced independently. Both boats took a short break to adjust their setup ahead of racing. The course was set at 290 degrees at a length of 1nm.

Stint 2 (13:25 - 13:45hrs, 9-13.5kts 280 degrees @ 13:25hrs) Race 1 saw Red enter on port, Black on starboard for the two-lap race. Red started well ahead of Black, controlling the race from start to finish. The right side of the course looked favourable. Red won the race with a time of 11m:20s, a significant 30 seconds ahead of Black (11m:50s).

Stint 3 (13:50hrs - 14:10hrs, 9-13kts 280 degrees @ 13:55hrs) Race 2 saw Black enter on port and Red on starboard, as a close fight ensued, with both boats starting on time, Red slightly ahead to windward of Black. Black tacked off immediately, with Red following, shortly after to cross over Black and control the tacking battle up to the windward gate. Red led the downwind and opened the gap, further increasing the distance over the next lap. Red won the race with a time of 11:39hrs, while Black crossed the finish with a time of 11:59hrs.

J3 jibs were dropped, with Red hoisting the J2-2 LE, and Black hoisting the J2-3 LE.

Stint 4 (14:25hrs - 14:50hrs, 12-17kts 285 degrees @ 14:30hrs) The Red boat warmed up with a few manoeuvres and a leeward mark rounding, before stopping to adjust jib settings. Meanwhile, Black rehoisted their J2 after making small adjustments, then setting off at 14:30hrs. At this point, the wind started to increase, with gusts measured at 17kts.

The final race saw Red enter on port, Black on starboard. Red looked to start a fraction early at the committee end, dropping behind Black and sailing a short course off to the right, before tacking back.

Red closed the distance quickly (apparently Black caught a plastic bag in the water, giving them "15 degrees of leeway for 30 seconds"). Red covered Black once they tacked and proceeded to control the remainder of the race. Red won their third consecutive race with a time of 11m:59s, outpacing Black by 13 seconds.

Both boats then sailed straight back to Obhur Creek, dropping sails by 15:00hrs and docking in at 15:10hrs, with both boats craned out by 15:50hrs. Despite losing all races, Black were able to improve on each time difference race after race. Just under three hours were spent on the water, 94 manoeuvres were observed of the Red boat, with a 97% fully foiling rate.

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 OD & LEQ12 - Day 70 - January 21, 2024 - Jeddah

  • Weather: 32 degrees. Sunny
  • Wind Strength 9-15kts
  • Wind Direction: 280 degrees - 285 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.5mtr NW
  • Crane In: 0900/0920hrs Dock Out: 1230hrs
  • Dock In: 1510hrs Crane out: 1530hrs
  • Total Tacks: 58 - Fully foiling: 56; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 36 - Fully foiling: 35; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0

Crew:Sailing: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin, Nico Charbonnier, Phil Robertson, Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey, Jason Waterhouse, Nico Rolaz

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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