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Cup Spy Jan 29: Light airs strike in Barcelona as more teams start up for 2024 Cup

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 30 Jan 18:43 PST 31 January 2024
American Magic - AC40 - Day 82 - January 29, 2024 - Barcelona © Ugo Fonolla / America's Cup

Four America's Cup teams had reported activity on Monday - three in Barcelona. However light winds in Barcelona stalled sailing plans, and Alinghi Red Bull Racing only splashed their AC75 again to undertake further FCS (Foil Control System) testing.

Luna Rossa were again rewarded with a good day's training off Cagliari with superb sailing breeze and flattish water that was on-axis with the breeze.

What happened in the Cup - January 29, 2024:

  • American Magic - a new phase of their workup shifting to a two-AC40 program, except the breeze was a no-show in Barcelona.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing - Splashed their AC75 again to undertake further testing on the FCS (Foil Control System).
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - Had a good day testing off Cagliari.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand - the Kiwis did not sail on Monday due to a public holiday in Auckland.
  • INEOS Britannia - Their program was another hit by the paucity of breeze in Barcelona.
  • Orient Express Racing Team - No report.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) - LEQ12 - Day 115 - January 29, 2023 - Cagliari

After a week spent in the shed, the Italian team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) rolled out their LEQ12 prototype at 08:30hrs, stepped mast and craned the yacht in by 08:45hrs.

The usual checks were executed at the dock before locking in M1-2 ready for dockout scheduled at 10:30hrs. The prototype was boarded by four sailors, which seemed to rotate with additional two during the whole session.

Just when exiting the harbour, the main was hoisted and paired to the J2-2 as the pressure was measured 9-11kts from 115° with a barely off-axis but significant chop of 0.4-0.6m from 120°-125°.

The first foiling stint began with a light initial tow to accelerate the yacht which self-launched on port tack.

After sailing a bit straight line, the team conducted some tacks before bearing away on port tack and executed some gybes. This routine was then repeated twice before a leeward gate was laid out and, perhaps, combined to a virtual windward gate. Then, two pre-starts were practiced while the team always sailed only short distance upwind before bearing away again to resume.

Around the marks and inside the virtual prestart box, all kinds of successful maneuvers were observed, from one-board round ups, two boards time, JKs (which occasionally turned into tack-bear-aways to kill time).

After 45 minutes of foiling, the yacht decelerated, sailors debriefed and swapped with those on Chase-1.

For the second foiling stint, lasting 20 minutes, the LEQ12 was towed up on port and bore away quickly to practice two additional prestarts and sailing occasionally one upwind and one downwind leg.

As the third foiling stint began, the team seemed to practice over and over normal round-ups on one board and round-up tacks on each mark but more often on the right hand one, perhaps slightly more favourable for seastate direction and shifted pressure.

Between these drills, the LEQ12 sailed some upwind and downwind legs and finally practiced a prestart entering on starboard. After almost 55 minutes foilborne, the yacht decelerated and came to a stop for another swap between sailors and checks by shore crew.

For the fourth and last foiling stint, the yacht self took off after an initial pull by a Chase boat, started sailing upwind for some tacks before bearing away on the virtual windward mark.

Three additional starts were then practiced before the marks were removed. The LEQ12 then sailed towards the harbour alternating between hard bear aways and trim ups, finally coming hull-borne after approx 40 minutes.

Overall, the LEQ12 looked very composed sailing through the seastate and consistent executing successfully each maneuver. The day was called at 13:45hrs with 169 minutes foiling time, approximately 52 tacks and 41 gybes

[Report by Michele Melis AC Recon].

Crew: Marco Gradoni, Francesco Bruni, Ruggero Tita, Umberto Mollineris, Vittorio Bissaro, Andrea Tesel

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) - LEQ12 - Day 115 - January 29, 2023 - Cagliari

  • Weather: Sunny 17°C
  • Wind Strength 10-12kts
  • Wind Direction: 115°-125°
  • Sea State: 0.5m from 120°
  • Crane In: 0845hrs Dock Out: 1030hrs
  • Dock In: 1415hrs Crane out:
  • Total Tacks: 52 - Fully foiling: 41; Touch & Go: 11; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 41 - Fully foiling: 35; Touch & Go: 6; Touch Down: 0

American Magic - AC40x2 - Day 82 - January 29, 2024 - Barcelona

AC40 Magic came out from the warehouse this morning at 08:45hrs am. The mast was rigged very quickly and at 09:23hrs the boat was already afloat and moored to the dock.

The foils settings were the one design ones, both for arms and rudder. Then after we could see some technicians working on board in different areas: around both helmsman and trimmer positions there was a technician with a computer making different checks, another technicians checking the LiDAR scanners and cameras (what could tell us that something with the sails was going to happen today) and some other basic preparations.

Timeline for the day:

  • 11:11hrs the crew brought the following sails J1 C-1 / J1.5 C-2 / J2 C-4 / J3 C-1 / MC-4.
  • 12:00hrs AC40 Magic went out from the dock and sailed to the port entrance. There she stopped and went for the following actions:
  • 12:06hrs – 12.22 hrs raised the main sail MC-4.
  • 12:36hrs (raise)- 12:43hrs (lower): Jib J2C-4
  • 12:46hrs (raise) - 12:52hrs (lower): Jib J1.5 C-2
  • 12:56hrs (raise) – 13:04hrs (lower) / 13:10hrs (raise) - 13:13hrs (lower): Jib J3C1
  • 13:16rs Jib J1C1 is raised and they start sailing out from the port with a very light breeze of 2-3 kn from 065°. They made a long run without foiling in port tack.
  • 13:41hrs they stopped and somebody from the Chaseboat crew jumped onboard AC40 Magic and went inside the boat through the bow hatch. He came out in two minutes with a ‘Peli’ case and a mini compressor in his hand and jumped back to the chase boat.
  • 13:47hrs AC40 American Magic tacks and after ten minutes of sailing with any feeling that the boat could go over the foils and knowing that the forecast was not going to get better, the team decided to tow the boat with the chase boat back to port.

Crew: Lucas Calabrese, Harry Melges, Severin Gramm, Andrew Campbell

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC40x2 - Day 82 - January 29, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Clearing 14° C
  • Wind Strength: 2-3kts
  • Wind Direction: 65°
  • Sea State: 0.8mtr
  • Crane In: 0845hrs Dock Out: 1200hrs
  • Dock In: 1405hrs Crane out: 1500hrs

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 112 - January 29, 2024 - Barcelona

Alinghi Red Bull Racing's AC75, Boat Zero, was rolled out at their Barcelona base at 09:00, with the aim to carry out Flight Control System (FCS) testing at the dock.

A notable change in the boat's setup was the reintroduction of the AC75_R1 (American Magic Legacy rudder). GoPros were placed at the mast head on extensions, as well as on the mast tang of the D1 shroud under the spreader.

After the yacht was craned in at 09:30, the team commenced standard systems checks, before proceeding to extensive FCS testing. This involved lots of lifting of the foils, with the port foil lifted significantly more especially towards the end of the day. Andrea Pisano, IT/Systems engineer, was responsible for this testing, spending most of the day in the port cockpit, with occasional visits from the yacht captain, Jack Taylor, and helmsman Nico Charbonnier.

In addition to the FCS, the crew also conducted a few aero systems tests, involving movement of the traveller, mast rotation, mainsail clew actuator and the jib sheet, with all cyclor pods occupied to provide the necessary power.

Although the boat did not sail, the day was marked by continuous and meticulous testing. The crew wrapped up the day's work with preparations for crane-out at 15:40, concluding 6 hours and 40 minutes of the boat in the water.

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 112 - January 29, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 14°. Cloudy
  • Wind Strength 4-7kts (Forecast rather than actual)
  • Wind Direction: SE
  • Sea State:
  • Crane In: 0930hrs Dock Out:
  • Dock In: Crane out: 1540hrs
  • Total Tacks: 6 - Fully foiling: 6; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 3 - Fully foiling: 1; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 1

INEOS Britannia - AC-2 and AC-10 - Day 26 - January 29, 2023 - Barcelona

INEOS Britannia rolled out their two AC40s, Athena(a) and Sienna(b) in full one-design configuration, at 06.01hrs and 06.54, respectively; and then were craned to the water at 06:40hrs and 07:33hrs.

The team docked out at 08:30hrs, as planned.

Both boats got on the tow and headed to the airport area with no sails. Once there, at 09:10 one-design mainsails and J2s were hoisted on both boats. Immediately after, it was clear that the wind conditions were lighter than expected and the J2s had to be dropped and replaced for one-design J1s. In the meantime, one of the chase boats set marks for an upwind-downwind course. However, finally those marks were never used.

Today´s session was featured by an unstable and shifty northwesterly – northeasterly, 5 to 7 knots breeze, combined with a disorganized easterly swell. Very patchy and with some low clouds coming into play at times to add even more disturbance to the equation.

In those conditions, the team was forced to speed-test all day long, as the wind was not strong enough for a productive racing session, doing maneuvers at starts and around the course.

At 09:40hrs the training started, struggling at times to be able to set both boats in proper speed-testing position, as one or the other fell-off from the foils. One downwind and one upwind on both tacks were carried out. Nothing conclusive could be achieved in terms of speed and angles in between boats.

At 10:40hrs, once back at the airport area, the two AC40s struggled to stand on the foils, sailing far away one from another. At that time, the team decided to tow Athena and Sienna further to the South, where better conditions were finally found.

The best quality speed tests happened further away from the coast. Two long down winds and up winds were carried out with both boats switching sides. More parity could be seen in between the boats when comparing to the past week. Nevertheless, the conditions were not reliable at all with too much variability on the wind strength, wind direction and swell.

At 12:05hrs there was a break in which the sailors on each boat could be seen talking and possibly exchanging opinions, while a batteries replacement took place.

At 12:30hrs the training continued with both boats trying to take-off and sail in marginal conditions without much success. Twenty minutes after, both boats started to sail back towards the harbor.

At 13:10hrs both boats lowered their sails and then headed back to the base on the tow, entering the port at 13.40. By 13:50 Athena and Sienna were already on the dock.

Sebastian Peri Brusa – Recon on INEOS Britannia

Session Statistics: INEOS Britannia - AC-2 and AC-10 - Day 26 - January 29, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Cloudy 10°.
  • Wind Strength 4.9-7.0kts
  • Wind Direction: 340°-030°
  • Sea State: 0.72mtr swell from 090°
  • Crane In: 0640 & 0733hrs Dock Out: 0830hrs
  • Dock In: 1350hrs
  • Total Tacks: 20 - Fully foiling: 12; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 3
  • Total Gybes: 8 - Fully foiling: 6; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 1

Crew: AC-2: Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott, Bleddyn Mon, Leigh McMillan. AC-10: Dylan Fletcher, Ben Cornish, Youth Program sailor, Luke Parkinson

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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