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Cup Spy Jan 23-24: Patriot's last sail. Swiss sail in Jeddah and test in Barcelona

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 24 Jan 04:50 PST 24 January 2024
American Magic - AC75 - Day 71 - Barcelona - January 23, 2023 © Ugo Fonolla / America's Cup

Four teams sailed in Spain, Jeddah and New Zealand.

Alinghi Red Bull Racing continued with their two AC40 training program in Jeddah, appearing to test jibs. The Recon team claimed to have spotted a manual foil control system aboard one of the Swiss AC40s. In Barcelona, they launched their AC75 - with a test team checking the FCS (Foil Control System).

American Magic retired their AC75 "mule" - which had sailed for 113 days, a total of 6739.7 miles and hit a top speed of 54.7kts as well as hitting the top speed in the 2021 America's Cup regatta of 53.31kts in Race 1 of the Semi-Finals.

What happened in the Cup - January 23-24, 2024:

  • American Magic - put in a four hour session, in light winds (7-10kts) in their AC75, off Barcelona. Today was Patriot's last sailing day, and the team has six days "off" before recommencing the next phase of their campaign.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing - continued to sail their pair of AC40s off Jeddah, in lighter winds of 6-11kts for a three hour session. The Recon team claim to have spotted a twist grip for a flight control - it is said/rumoured that the Swiss are switching to a manual flight control system on the AC40. (Not confirmed in the interview with Bryan Mettraux.) Back in Barcelona, the team splashed their AC75 while a small technical team put the foil control system though its paces on both the port and starboard foil arms.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand - Sailed their AC40/LEQ12 on Wednesday morning in a freshening breeze, which was recorded as gusting to 30kts. The Recon Team felt the LEQ12 was over-powered for much of the sail. Cup Spy saw part of the session, the LEQ12 was notable for the amount of fine high-speed spray following like exhaust smoke. See the video in this story.
  • INEOS Britannia - enjoyed much the same conditions in Barcelona, as American Magic (7.5kts-8.5kts) and sailed their two AC40s set up in One Design mode.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - No report.
  • Orient Express Racing Team - have not sailed in testing mode yet - but did tow-test on Wednesday January 24.

American Magic - AC75 - Day 70 - January 23, 2024 - Barcelona

NYYC American Magic made another early start today to take advantage of a favourable wind forecast that called for 7-10kt breezes from 1000hrs until 1300hrs.

The team's second generation AC75 Patriot was rolled out in the dark at 0720hrs and the diligent shore crew had the boat rigged and launched by 0748hrs ahead of a dock out time of 0927hrs. Patriot was towed out of the harbour on foils at 0935hrs for a six mile southerly tow down to a rigging point just beyond the Sierra navigation buoy. The MN8 mainsail and J1.5-2 headsail were hoisted by 1000hrs before the boat was towed up to foiling speed at the start of a four minute flight that ended with a displacement tack.

The boat was quickly back in foiling mode after a self take off for a flight that lasted 20 minutes and saw the crew complete two windward/leeward laps with multiple foiling manoeuvres despite the breeze only reaching the 7-9kts range. That set the pattern for the rest of the session with multiple flights featuring windward/leeward laps – including one 30 minute session that saw the crew sail downwind to a point more than 10 miles south of the harbour entrance.

Helped to some degree by the flat sea/long swell sea state, the boat looked steady in flight and the manoeuvres were in the main smooth and confident. With the breeze starting to edge down after 1230hrs as forecast, time was called at 1300hrs and the boat was back on the dock by 1330hrs.

The American team now has a six day break from sailing with then next scheduled sailing day being Tuesday January 30.

Report from Justin Chisholm - AC37 Joint Recon Team

Crew: Paul Goodison, Tom Slingsby, Michael Menniger, Riley Gibbs, Andrew Campbell, John Croom, Colten Hall, Tim Hornsby, James Wright, Ashton Lambie

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC75 - Day 70 - January 23, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Clear 10-14° C
  • Wind Strength: 6-15kts
  • Wind Direction: 220°-270°
  • Sea State: 0.4-0.6metre Steep chop
  • Crane In: 0910hrs Dock Out: 1200hrs
  • Dock In: 1723hrs Crane out: 1745hrs
  • Total Tacks: 19 - Fully foiling: 18; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 20 - Fully foiling: 20; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 - Day 58 - January 24, 2023 - Auckland

An epic, high-end Day 58 testing, out on the Gulf for Emirates Team New Zealand on the LEQ12.

With breeze averaging in the low twenties and gusts into the high twenties, the team were really pushing the limits of these two new similar design foils.

The team docked out at 10:00 for a brief, but almost non stop, two hour session, hoisting the M2-3 main and J3-2 jib. While this is their heavier air configuration, it was still far too much sail area for today and it was only downwind that we saw the main sheeted properly. For the rest of the time, the team sailed with loads of ease, traveller down and appeared to be very overpowered at times.

Not a whole lot of manoeuvres were carried out today with only nine tacks and eight gybes.

Instead the focus seemed to be on loading these new foils up and testing the limits. It was interesting to also note the upwind heel angles were very different to what we have seen in the past. Whether this is to do with these new foil shapes or just the high-end nature of the wind today, we will have to keep observing more.

The team barely sailed with any windward heel especially on the upwinds. In fact at times, they were purposely loading on the foil with a good few degrees of leeward heel.

On the starboard foil there was little to no piercing of the wing tip. On port there was a little more piercing seen, noting that the port foil has a less aggressively curved wing tip. A lot of lower modes were also seen today but with very impressive upwind speeds being recorded of up to approximately 37 knots.

It was an impressive day to be out on the water with Emirates Team New Zealand, and even in these high-end conditions, for most of the time, the team seemed to be in good control of the boat.

Even the high speed exits out of gybes and manoeuvres seemed fast and stable today with no real wipeouts, just a couple of small crash downs which appeared to be due to cavitations from misreading ride heights or piercing through waves.

When arriving back at the dock, all the team seemed happy with the day and data collected.

We were lucky enough today to catch up with port Flight Controller Blair Tuke after the session to ask him a few questions regarding the success of the day.

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

Session Statistics: Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 - Day 58 - January 24, 2023 - Auckland

  • Weather: Overcast/Sunny 18-20° C
  • Wind Strength: 17-23kts gusting 27kts at Rangitoto light
  • Wind Direction: 220° - 230°
  • Sea State: 0.2mtr
  • Crane In: 0915hrs Dock Out: 1000hrs
  • Dock In: 1200hrs Crane out: 1230hrs
  • Total Tacks: 9 - Fully foiling: 9; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 8 - Fully foiling: 8; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 OD & LEQ12 - Day 71 - January 23, 2024 - Jeddah

Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out their AC40-7 (Black) and AC40-4 (Red) at 09:15 and 09:40 respectively, with both boats in the water by 10:00. It was immediately noted that the manual FCS system was put in place, with a twist grip flight controller spotted in the port cockpit of the Red boat. According to Bryan Mettraux in the post sailing interview, there is another of the same controller in the starboard cockpit, but the recon unit was not able to photograph it.

A good amount of time was spent by the hydraulics and electronics techs, working on FCS aboard the Red boat prior to dock out. This marked the team's first time sailing the AC40 with a manual FCS, after it was first seen implemented and tow tested on September 23rd 2023, prior to the AC40s being shipped to Jeddah.

The M1-2 OD mainsail and J2-2 LE jib were prepared on the Red boat, as the crew on this boar remains unchanged, with the Arnaud Psarofaghis and Maxime Bachelin helming. The M1-3 LE mainsail and J2-3 LE jib were prepared on the Black boat, with Nico Charbonnier switching to the starboard helm and Nico Rolaz trimming behind him. Jason Waterhouse helmed for the first time, on the port side, with Lucien Cujean trimming behind him. Both boats docked out at 12:30, with a flat sea state on the Red Sea, perfect for testing the manual FCS.

Stint 1 (13:00hrs - 13:40hrs, 6-8kts 285° @ 13:00hrs , 6-7.5kts 290° @ 13:45hrs) Both boats embarked on separate programs for the day, with Red beginning manual flight control training. The team spend 40 minutes sailing, with no successful fully foiling manoeuvres completed, though gradually improved throughout the stint. Sailing came to a halt, as the J2 jib was replaced with the J1-3 LE and techs jumped on board, seemingly attending to teething issues with the FCS. The Black boat, on the other hand, focused on sail testing and manoeuvre practice, sailing long legs upwind and downwind with a new crew setup.

Stint 2 (14:45hrs - 14:55hrs) Both boats remained stationary for some time, and with no apparent success resolving the issues on the Red boat, the Black boat sailed off closer to land, where they exchanged the J2 with the J1-4 LE jib. A decision was made to follow the Black boat as Red carried on repairs. The brief stint saw the Black boat focus on manoeuvres, specifically on round ups and bear aways, making their way back up to the Red boat, pausing very briefly before setting off again on Stint 3.

Stint 3 (14:55hrs - 15:20hrs, 8-11kts 280° @ 15:00hrs) Black proceeded with more focus on manoeuvres, sailing long upwind/downwind legs with split tacks and gybes versus the chase boat. Red, however, was towed back in displacement mode after dropping sails, signalling unresolved issues with the FCS.

The day concluded with both boats docking in by 15:40hrs and craning out by 16:10hrs. The session spanned three hours on the water, with a total observed sailing time of 75 minutes. A total of 40 manoeuvres were observed of the Black boat, achieving an 88% fully foiling rate with auto flight control. Eight manoeuvres were observed by the Red boat in manual flight control, all of which were touch down manoeuvres.

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 OD & LEQ12 - Day 71 - January 23, 2024 - Jeddah

  • Weather: 30° degrees. Sunny
  • Wind Strength 6-11kts
  • Wind Direction: 280° - 290 °
  • Sea State: 0.3mtr NW
  • Crane In: 0935/1000hrs Dock Out: 1230hrs
  • Dock In: 1525/1540hrs Crane out: 15401610hrs
  • 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: (Red) Arnaud Psarofaghis, Bryan Mettraux, Maxime Bachelin, Yves Detrey; Black: Nico Charbonnier, Nico Rolaz, Lucien Crujean, Jason Waterhouse

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 111 - January 23, 2024 - Barcelona

Testing day for the foiling arms hydraulic canting system for the B1 AC75 hull from Alinghi Red Bull Racing Team.

The boat was roll out at 08:58hrs and at 9:05hrs it was craned out and put afloat in between to docks so it was possible to freely move the arms up and down to perform tests.

There were three team members that were working on the tests the most part of the time, whom we think they were: 1 x mechatronic engineer, 1 x rigger, 1 x hydraulic engineer (see picture named at comments as 'Test Team of the day for AC75 B1 on 240123').

After the boat was properly moored between the two docks, the mechatronic engineer and the hydraulic engineer took positions with their computers close to each other in port side at the place were the helm should be when sailing. Rigger was located in an area were there was a hatch located in between the mast and the bow (in length, aprox).

They made different checks from the system and at 10.16hrs they started to make a repetitive check that consisted on the following: they started with both arms positioned at 50% (aprox) travel from the hydraulic arm (maybe canting arm at 41.41º) and then after presssing a botton from the rudder the foiling arm from port was going to maximum height (maximum compression of the hydraulic arm, cant angle 119.5º), hull was getting heel to port side, after X time (variable) they press again the button from the rudder and the arm went back to the initial position and hull went back to the initial position as well.

They made around 25 tests like this ones for port side. At 12:05hrs they started with starboard side (after changing laptops to starboard side, at helm location). They performed 10 tests and they stopped to have lunch.

After coming back from lunch they made some random tests and at 15:00hrs they came back with the same protocol testing used before, and they performed 39 tests on starboard side until 16:05hrs, when they decided to stop and proceed with the crane out.

Sporadically when performing the tests some other people went in and out from the boat: sometimes to give some support to the engineers, some times just to make pictures. Also comment that when they were lifting the arm from middle height to full height, some times they were doing all in one fast speed and some others in low speed for a couple of seconds and then into fast speed until it was completely up.

INEOS Britannia - AC-2 and AC-10 - Day 22 - January 23, 2023 - Barcelona

Team INEOS Britannia craned to the water their two AC40s, Sienna(b) and Athena(a), at 06.30hrs and 06.45hrs, respectively, on complete one-design configuration. Both boats had been left out of the shed overnight, with their masts up. The team docked out at 07:45hrs, as planned, in an effort to take advantage of the early morning breeze.

At 08:00hrs both boats exited the harbor on the tow, with no sails, heading towards the airport area. Once there at 08.25hrs, one-design mainsails and J2s were hoisted.

From 08:30hrs till 08:55hrs AC40(a) Athena did three upwind-downwind warm-up laps, around the marks that were set by Chase boat #1, while AC40(b) stayed heading into the wind, apparently fixing or adjusting something with one of the other chase boats next to it.

In today´s training session the main focus was on the pre-starts and starts.

From 08:55hrs till 09:30hrs both boats did some kind of pre-starting exercise in which they entered the pre-starting box with a much larger time gap than they would in a normal start sequence, then sailed past the ends of the starting line towards its extensions and to leeward; and then sailed back towards the middle or the opposite end of the line.

Both boats executed at the same time in opposite ends of the line, almost with no interaction and training independently one to the other. This exercise was repeated multiple times during the day, with both boats switching ends. It seemed like some kind of time-distance exercise for the pre-starts.

At 09:30hrs the first “normal” starting sequence got underway. It ended up being an evened start. AC40(a) was ahead on the first cross and covered AC40(b), defending the right side of the racecourse. AC40(a) rounded the top mark in the lead and arrived at the gates ahead, were the race was stopped after rounding.

At 09:50hrs a new normal sequence took place. AC40(b) had a much better start, with AC40(a) crossing the starting line a few seconds late. Immediately after starting, the race was abandoned, and both boats got ready for the following start.

At 10:15hrs a third race got underway, with a pretty evened start. A to leeward and ahead, B to windward and slightly behind. Half-way on the first upwind, B fell-off from the foils on a tack and then both boats stopped and aborted the race.

From 10:25hrs till 10:45hrs there was a twenty-minute break and afterwards the J2s were replaced for J1s on both boats.

At 10:50hrs a fourth sequence got underway, in a dying breeze. Boat AC40(a) fell-off from the foils during the pre-start. Boat B started, and then the race was abandoned immediately after.

At 11:00hrs, the wind continued to drop in intensity at a faster peace and the team decided to call the day. Sails were lowered on both boats and then the tow back started towards the base.

Both AC40s entered the harbor at 11:45hrs, docked at 12:00hrs, and AC40(b) Sienna was the first of the two to be craned out of the water at 12:20hrs.

Sebastian Peri Brusa – Recon on INEOS Britannia

Crew: Athena: Dylan Fletcher (stb), Ben Cornish (port, Leigh McMillan, Bleddyn Mon. Sienna: Ben Ainslie (stb), Giles Scott (port), Iain Jensen, Luke Parkinson

Session Statistics: INEOS Britannia - AC-2 and AC-10 - Day 23 - January 23, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Clear 15°C.
  • Wind Strength 7.5-8.5kts
  • Wind Direction: 330°-350°
  • Sea State: 0.5mtr swell
  • Crane In: 0630/0645hrs Dock Out: 0745hrs
  • Dock In: 1200hrs Crane out: 1220hrs
  • Total Tacks: 23 - Fully foiling: 20; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 17 - Fully foiling: 16; 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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