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Cup Spy Jan 30: Breeze is a no-show in Barcelona - but Kiwis and Italians foil their hearts out

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 31 Jan 05:39 PST 1 February 2024
Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 Prototype - Day 60, January 30, 2024 - Auckland © Sam Thom / America's Cup

Light winds in Barcelona again wrecked havoc on sailing/testing plans. Alinghi Red Bull Racing got foiling in their AC75.

Away from Barcelona. 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. On the other side of the world, Emirates Team New Zealand had a good dual breeze day - light airs to begin and then a 15-20kts breeze cracked in - great for speed testing, but well removed from what is expected in Barcelona in nine months.

What happened in the Cup - January 30, 2024:

  • American Magic - For the second successive day the wind was light in Barcelona - not enough to get American Magic's AC40/LEQ12 foiling.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing - Were also suffered at the hands of the light winds in Barcelona, however they did get get their AC75 foiling.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - Had another good day testing off Cagliari in their LEQ12 in a breeze which hit 13kts. This was the Italians 113th day of testing in their custom design LEQ12, and they had another excellent session with 78 tacks and gybes.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand - Emirates Team New Zealand had their first day back sailing after the Auckland holiday weekend. On Tuesday, they had a good dual breeze day - light airs to begin and then a 15-20kts breeze cracked in. It was a perfect day - great for speed testing, but the conditions are quite different from Barcelona. The Kiwi team fitted an older wing foil on the starboard side, continuing to test as design deadlines loom for sign-off on foil design for the AC75 raceboat.
  • INEOS Britannia - Their program was another hit by the paucity of breeze in Barcelona. They got on the water with their pair of AC40s - but in a breeze that topped at 6kts there is not a lot to work with.
  • Orient Express Racing Team - No report.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

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

The Italian team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli rolled out their LEQ12 prototype at 10:00hrs, stepped mast and craned the yacht in by 10:15hrs.

The usual checks were executed at the dock before locking in M1-2 ready for dockout scheduled at 11:00hrs, then postponed to 12:30hrs. The prototype was boarded by four sailors and only the flight trimmers rotated during the whole session.

Just behind the harbour pier, the main was hoisted and paired to the J2-2. Pressure was measured 11-13kts from 155° at first with slightly offset chop of 0.3-0.5m from 145°.

Similar to the previous sailing day, the first foiling stint began with a light initial tow to accelerate the yacht which then self launched taking off on port tack.

Once up and foiling, the team conducted the usual warm up tacks before bearing away on port tack and executing some gybes. In the meanwhile, a leeward gate was laid out at approximately 150° but the seabreeze seemed to be shifting to 135-140°. The gate was not repositioned and the team used Chase-boats as pin and Committee-boat with a windward virtual mark.

As the prototype was approaching downwind, the physical marks were used to practice normal one board round-ups. Then, four of numerous prestarts of the day were practiced as the team seemed to focus extremely on maneuvers inside the box including full circles, two boards mode and hard turns.

Afterwards, the team sailed two upwind and two downwind legs and concluded its first foiling stint with approx 50 minutes falling hull-borne exiting a gybe. During this short break, sailors debriefed and one flight controllers swapped with one of Chase-1.

For the second foiling stint, lasting about 20 minutes, the LEQ12 was towed up on port and bore away, some gybes followed and the team practiced two additional start drills. As race was live after the second prestart, Chase-3 seemed to engage occasionally with the LEQ12 upwind and downwind to force communication on board.

After rounding up the leeward mark, the yacht dropped the windward board and decelerated to swap again flight trimmers.

As the third foiling stint began with a tow up, another starting drill was observed, followed by some laps with Chase-3 engaging. This routine was then repeated several times until the LEQ12 splashed down while sailing downwind losing its ride height and hitting a wave after 25 minutes.

The tow line was then passed and sailors and shore crew started working on main traveller/track, perhaps a speculative issue.

No major damage and the yacht was back foilborne at 15:00hrs for the fourth foiling stint, bearing away and heading to the gate for another start, followed by two legs. Chase-3 engaged with the yacht on the downwind leg, forcing a series of gybes on the right hand side of the course.

Two additional starts were then practiced by the team and some laps were then sailed. After a JK on the left hand mark, the windward port wing caught a plastic bag forcing the team to stop in order to remove it.

For the fifth and last foiling stint, the yacht self took off and sailed for 10 more minutes executing some gybes heading to the harbour base. The day was called at 15:50hrs with 138 minutes foiling time, approximately 45 tacks and 33 gybes. Sailing will resume with two boats on Thursday [Michele Melis AC Recon].

[Report by Michele Melis AC Recon].

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

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) - LEQ12 - Day 116 - January 30, 2023 - Cagliari

  • Weather: Sunny 17.9°C
  • Wind Strength 10-13kts
  • Wind Direction: 135°-155°
  • Sea State: 0.3m from 145°
  • Crane In: 1015hrs Dock Out: 1230hrs
  • Dock In: 1610hrs Crane out:
  • Total Tacks: 45 - Fully foiling: 36; Touch & Go: 7; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 33 - Fully foiling: 25; Touch & Go: 5; Touch Down: 3

Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 - Day 60 - January 30, 2024 - Auckland

Day 60 of testing for Emirates Team New Zealand proved to be the best of both worlds with a light marginal foiling south west breeze to start, then switched instantly to 15-20 knots for the second part of the session from the same direction. The session started with the M2-3 Main Sail, and the J2-2 Jib.

It appeared that ETNZ had perfectly planned around these conditions, although for the first 20 minutes the team did struggle to find enough breeze to stay on the foils. Eventually they set up the session off the north west side of Rangitoto Island. The team sailed many upwinds and downwinds in a small sailing area to make the most of the breeze accelerating along the shore of Rangitoto. It proved to be another session concentrating on a number of tacks and gybes.

With the older generation foil on starboard, it seemed more difficult to execute the tacks in the marginal conditions. One point of interest is that, over the past few sessions it has become quite noticeable how consistently the team heel slightly to leeward going into tacks and really spin the boat and come out on the new tack in a locked-in windward heel.

All gybes today were full foilers, even in the marginal conditions, and during a few of the gybes, we also saw the team holding the old board down for extended periods and really heating the yacht up before lifting the old board.

At 13:45 the forecast stronger south west breeze clicked in and the team opted to swap Jibs to the J3 smaller Jib. They continued to sail in the same area again practicing a few tacks and gybes before, sailing a couple of long upwind tacks back towards Bean Rock and the inner harbour. Once up in this area the team seemed to hunt out the larger gusts and windier areas of water including sailing a few windward leewards up and down the inner harbour between Bean Rock and the Auckland Port.

In the stronger breeze the team still seemed to be concentrating a lot on tacks and gybes however, they were also seen sailing some different modes especially upwind. At one point they seemed to be really pushing the height of each foil, and on starboard tack especially, running a lot of cant down. Some lower angles were tested and then once up in the very flat water they seemed to lock into a much lower flight mode and looked extremely slippery.

The team ended the session with an upwind all the way up the harbour and a few circles under the harbour bridge. Eventually they dropped sails at 15:15 directly off the Viaduct Harbour and Emirates Team New Zealand Base after an ideal testing session out on the Gulf. After the session we were lucky enough to speak with Nathan Outteridge and get a run-down of the session today.

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

Session Statistics: Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 - Day 60 - January 30, 2024 - Auckland

  • Weather: 25-28° C Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 7-10kts and 15-20kts
  • Wind Direction: 190°degrees - 195°
  • Sea State: 0.1mtr
  • Crane In: 1000hrs Dock Out: 1154hrs
  • Dock In: 1320hrs Crane out: 1350hrs

American Magic - AC40x2 - Day 83 - January 30, 2024 - Barcelona

Another day of sub 5 knot breeze resulted in NYYC American Magic managing only a short drift of a shakedown sail for their AC40-5 America.

The boat rolled out at 0840hrs and after an hour-long period of rig set up and testing the boat was craned afloat at 1000hrs. The team docked out a few minutes before midday and had sails hoisted (MC-4 custom mainsail and J1 one design headsail) by 1210hrs.

After a slow tow out of the harbour the crew spent 45 minutes sailiung slowly in displacement mode in a breeze ranging from 4.5kts down to 3kts. With no hope of any meaningful sailing sails began to be dropped at 1300hrs and the boat was back on the dock at 1320hrs. Sailing is scheduled for tomorrow Wednesday January 31 with both the team's AC40s being left rigged and ready ashore at the American base overnight.

Crew: Paul Goodison, Harry Melges, Kyle Langford, Severin Gramm

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC40x2 - Day 83 - January 30, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Clearing 12° C
  • Wind Strength: 3-4.5kts
  • Wind Direction: 080°
  • Sea State: 0.4-0.6mtr swell
  • Crane In: 0845hrs Dock Out: 1200hrs
  • Dock In: 1405hrs Crane out: 1500hrs
  • No foiling due to sub 5kt wind.

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 113 - January 30, 2024 - Barcelona

Alinghi Red Bull Racing started with an early rollout of Boat Zero (AC75) at 06:30hrs. Following crane-in at 06:55hrs, the yacht underwent standard systems checks before sunrise at 08:05hrs.

A focus on Flight Control System (FCS) testing continued, with both foils lifted numerous times as part of the checks. In addition to FCS, aero systems testing was conducted, involving the newly added quadrant at the mast base for mast rotation.

The M1-1R mainsail and J1-1R jib were prepared on the deck ahead of 08:30 dockout. Nico Charbonnier helmed on the starboard side, with Maxime Bachelin helming on port.Today also saw the debut sail for cyclor Paul Jacquot.

Stint 1 (10:17hrs - 11:07hrs, 4-8kts @ 20° 10:15hrs) With a south east residual swell, almost perpendicular to the wind, the team started their first stint in marginal conditions, struggling to maintain consistent flight, though they were initially able to self take off. They sometimes found difficulty exceeding 18 knots boat speed. An attempt at a foiling gybe resulted in a touch down, as the yacht was then tow-started, but did not maintain flight for much longer than a minute.

Stint 2 (11:11hrs - 11:19hrs, 5-9kts @40° 11:10hrs) Continued efforts in the second stint also faced challenges. Following a successful tow start, two tacks were attempted, both resulted in a touch down.

Stint 3 (11:30hrs - 11:50hrs, 5-8kts @30° 11:35hrs) During the final, the yacht was unable to get on the foil in the available wind conditions. Multiple tow start attempts were largely unsuccessful, leading to further touch downs. The chase boat came alongside the yacht at 11:50hrs to end the sailing day.

Sails were dropped by 12:20hrs, after dealing with a small issue lowering the mainsail. The yacht was towed back to the base and craned out by 13:50hrs.

Throughout the day, the yacht spent four and a half hours on the water, with 78 minutes of active sailing (displacement and foiling). A total of three manoeuvres were attempted, none of which were fully foiling.

Crew: Sailing Group: Maxime Bachelin, Nico Charbonnier, Yves Detrey, Bryan Mettraux, Lucien Cujean, Nico Rolaz. Power Group: Augustin Maillefer, Arthur Cevey, Nils Theuninck, Paul Jacquot

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 113 - January 30, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 15°. Cloudy
  • Wind Strength 4-9kts
  • Wind Direction: 20°- 40°
  • Sea State:0.9 - 1.3mtr from SE
  • Crane In: 0635hrs Dock Out:0830hrs
  • Dock In: 1305hrs Crane Out: 1350hrs
  • Total Tacks: 2 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 1 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1

INEOS Britannia - AC-2 and AC-10 - Day 27 - January 30, 2023 - Barcelona

INEOS Britannia craned their two AC40s, Sienna(B) and Athena(A) into the water in full one-design configuration, at 06.30hrs and 06.47hrs, respectively. They had been left with their masts up and out of the shed overnight. Normal routine activities were performed before docking out at 08.00hrs, as planned.

Both boats got on the tow and headed towards the airport area with no sails. Once there, at 08:30hrs one-design mainsails and J1s were hoisted.

The team tried to sail in an unstable and shifty northly breeze of 3 to 6 knots of intensity, combined with a considerable 0.80-meter swell from 095°.

Generally speaking, a 75% of the time or more was spent either sailing on displacement mode trying to take-off or on the tow going from one place no another looking for better wind conditions. It was remarkable the level of resilience of the entire team to try to get the most out of the day, trying to take-off and sail when possible.

It can be concluded that it was a lot harder to take-off on port tack when sailing against the swell, than on starboard; as well as to succeed when tacking or gybing into port having to accelerate heading against the swell.

After trying to take-off and sail for half an hour, at 09:10hrs the team decided to get both boats on the tow and head further off-shore, looking for stronger winds. Once further out, in contrast to the previous day, conditions were not too different and a few more sailing stints were executed during half an hour, succeeding only at times to foil consistently.

At 10:25hrs the wind died completely and there was a fifteen-minute break. A green hose was identified going into Boat A, through the front hatch.

At 10:40hrs both boats got towed heading against the swell. Once released, the best speed test of the day took place sailing upwind on starboard tack on a straight line. Nothing conclusive can be reported.

At 11:25hrs both boats started to head back towards the harbor. However, in the way, there were four times in which they got released, attempting to sail with small local gusts. Unfortunately, there was no success. At 11:58hrs both boats entered the port, lowered their sails, and docked at 12:18hrs

Sebastian Peri Brusa – Recon on INEOS Britannia

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

Session Statistics: INEOS Britannia - AC-2 and AC-10 - Day 27 - January 30, 2023 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Cloudy 10°.
  • Wind Strength 3.6-5.6kts
  • Wind Direction: 340°-360°
  • Sea State: 0.73mtr swell from 095° Slight chop
  • Crane In: 0630 & 0647hrs Dock Out: 0800hrs
  • Dock In: 1218hrs
  • Total Tacks: 7 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 7
  • Total Gybes: 5 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 4

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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