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Cup Spy Feb 6-7: French unfazed by capsize. Four teams train on the Med

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 9 Feb 05:32 PST 9 February 2024
Orient Express Racing Team - AC40 - Day 5 - February 7, 2024 - Barcelona © Job Vermeulen / America's Cup

Four America's Cup teams trained on two locations on the the Mediterranean.

Three teams sailed out of Barcelona in AC40s, and with the Swiss continuing to sail their AC75 also out of Barcelona. The Italian team Luna Rossa continues to sail their custom design LEQ12, against their One Design AC40, from the team base in Cagliari. All teams are involved in a mix of racing practice (either in a pair of boats or alone), with some speed work.

What happened in the Cup - Feb 6-7 2024:

  • American Magic - Sailed out of Barcelona in their two matched AC40s.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing - Sailed their AC75 out of Barcelona.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - Sailed their LEQ12 and AC40 against each other out of Cagliari.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand - Sailed on Friday (February 4 NZT) in their AC40/LEQ12 out of Auckland, and did not sail in this period.
  • Orient Express Racing Team - Sailed out of Barcelona on February 7, and were covered by the AC37 Joint Recon team. They had the misfortune to capsize their AC40, with what appeared to be an autopilot issue, but were able to continue the session after righting.
  • INEOS Britannia - Did not sail/were not covered by the AC37 Joint Recon team. They last sailed on February 2, 2024 and their specialist test boat T6 last sailed on November 13, 2023.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Orient Express Racing Team - AC40 - Day 5 - February 7, 2024 - Barcelona

Edited report from the AC37 Joint Recon Team:

The Orient Express AC-40 team began the day by lifting the mast onto the boat and conducting various tests, including remote-controlled arm movements. Sailors received instructions on new settings, and the sails were raised and lowered for preparation.

The OE AC-40 team began the day by lifting the mast onto the boat and conducting various tests, including remote-controlled arm movements. Sailors received instructions on new settings, and the sails were raised and lowered for preparation. After some induction, the crew faced challenges with the tack part of the sail but managed to resolve the issue. The AC-40 experienced a capsizing incident, requiring assistance and repairs.

The capsize incident began when the AC-40 went to tack with out foiling and in that moment something went wrong as it looked like the boat systems got like frozen, the arms were not moving and could not compensate the righting moment of the sail so it started to heel until it capsized.

After only a few minutes on its side, the chase boat moved into position and towed the capsized AC-40 against the wind helping it to get back to a straight position. Then after the chase boat got beside the AC-40 and three technicians jumped over to make a checking from all systems. Two technicians - electronic and an hydraulic engineers checked the boat. There was some damage we don’t know exactly where, but luckily could be fixed. In consequence the team could not sailed completely in manual mode and they had to sail in auto mode.

Despite the setbacks, they later sailed successfully, conducting manoeuvres in both upwind and downwind directions. Some battery and jib replacements were made, and the team practiced tacking, gybing, lay lines, bearing away and luffing manoeuvres. The day concluded with the team returning to the harbour around 18:30hrs.

Report by Jose L. Piñana – AC37 Joint Recon Team

Crew: Quentin de la Pierre, Kevin Peponet, Matthieu Vandame, Jason Saunders

Session Statistics: Orient Express Racing Team - AC40 - Day 5 - February 7, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather:18 degrees. Sunny
  • Wind Strength 5-13kts
  • Wind Direction: 220° - 250°
  • Sea State: 0.4-0.6mtrs
  • Crane In: 1058hrs Dock Out: 1257hrs
  • Dock In: 1830hrs Crane out:
  • Total Tacks: 27 - Fully foiling: 18; Touch & Go: 5; Touch Down: 4
  • Total Gybes: 21 - Fully foiling: 15; Touch & Go: 4; Touch Down: 2

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 117 - February 7, 2024 - Barcelona

Alinghi Red Bull Racing's AC75, Boat Zero, was rolled out at 10:30hrs, followed by stepping of the rig and crane in at 10:50hrs. Standard checks were conducted, with further work observed in the starboard cyclor and trimming pod.

The team docked out at 12:30hrs, with the M2-2R mainsail and J3-1R jib hoisted in port. An issue with the windex was noted before releasing the towline, but it looked minor. Sailing commenced from the port entrance, with Arnaud Psarofaghis at the helm on starboard and Maxime Bachelin on port. Notably, Jason Waterhouse replaced Yves Detrey in the starboard trimming position for today. The sea was flat in the morning, with a slight chop in the afternoon as the breeze filled in.

Session 1 (13:00hrs – 13:20hrs, 7-10.5kts 200°) The first stint began with a downwind/upwind warm-up, followed by a couple of drop and lifts of the windward foil. Additionally, the team practiced manoeuvring with two boards down, including a double gybe.

Session 2 (13:25hrs – 13:30hrs, 8-13kts 200° increasing to 11-15kts 205° at the end of the session) The second session saw the yacht engage in a short upwind and a tack-and-bearaway manoeuvre, then sailing a short downwind and attempting a gybe-to-round-up-and-tack, touching down on the final tack. The whole sequence was then repeated successfully. With the wind increasing in strength, the team exchanged the J3 for the J4-1R jib.

Session 3 (13:47hrs – 14:07hrs, 12-16kts 205°) This stint focused on pre-start manoeuvres, with the team lifting and dropping the windward foil, predominantly on starboard tack, both upwind and downwind. Following, successive 360° manoeuvres were practiced, albeit not executed perfectly clean.

Session 4 (14:14hrs – 14:30hrs, 12-17kt 215°) The fourth stint consisted of another long [16minutes] downwind segment, further practicing sailing with two boards down. Pre-start practice began towards the end, with the yacht entering on port for Start 1, while Chase Alpha entered on starboard.

Session 5 (14:35hrs – 14:45hrs, 11-15.5kts 205°) Start 2 continued into a one lap race, with the course set at 210, as the yacht entered on port and the chase on starboard. The wind slightly decreased towards the end of the session, prompting a sail change from J4 to J3-1R. A full cyclor team rotation was carried out before the following stint.

Session 6 (15:08hrs – 15:35hrs, 8-11kts 210°) The sixth stint began with an upwind/downwind warm-up, incorporating 360° turns as well as sailing with both boards down. Start 3 and Start 4 saw the chase boat entering on port and the yacht entering on starboard.

Session 7 (15:40hrs – 16:02hrs, 11-14.5kts 205°) Start 5 continued into a two lap race, with plenty of cover manoeuvres observed. A touch down tack occurred at the second windward gate, followed by another touch down at the subsequent leeward mark rounding with both boards down.

Session 8 (16:11hrs – 16:25hrs, 8-11kts 205°) The final stint consisted of a long downwind stretch on starboard, followed by a sharp JK manoeuvre (270° turn around a mark), then continuing upwind on port, with the yacht alternating between low and high modes before sailing into the port to the end the sailing day.

Sails were dropped by 16:35hrs and the team docked in at 16:45hrs. Following just over four hours on the water, with 135 minutes spent sailing, a total of 92 manoeuvres were observed, marking the highest count in a single day on the AC75, achieving an 87% fully foiling rate.

Crew: Sailing: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin, Nico Charbonnier, Lucien Cujean, Bryan Mettraux , Jason Waterhouse. Power: Augustin Maillefer, Arthur Cevey, Nils Theuninck , Barnabé Delarze, Théry Schir, Nico Rolaz, Franco Noti, Paul Jacquot

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 117 - February 7, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 18°C. Cloudy
  • Wind Strength 8-17kts
  • Wind Direction: 200° - 215°
  • Sea State: 0.2 - 0.6mtr
  • Crane In: 1050hrs Dock Out: 1230hrs
  • Dock In: 1645hrs Crane out: 1710hrs
  • Total Tacks: 44 - Fully foiling: 36; Touch & Go: 4; Touch Down: 4
  • Total Gybes: 48 - Fully foiling: 44; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 2

American Magic - AC40x2 - Day 88 - February 7, 2024 - Barcelona

NYYC American Magic completed a second day of AC40 two boat testing on a day which saw a southerly wind up to 15kts kicking up a moderate chop on the waters off the Barcelona city front.

Once again the focus was on long periods of straight line sailing to enable the team to gather performance data on some custom mainsails and a range of headsails.

The shore crew rolled out the AC40 America first this morning at 0855hrs and had the boat rigged (America's mast now sporting matching branding to the one on Magic) and launched by 0925hrs.

Once in the water a team of technicians and their laptops spent an hour setting up and testing the boat's systems - with helmsman Paul Goodison joining in this process for a while in the starboard helming pod. The AC40 Magic was rolled out at 1050hrs and rigged and launched by 1125hrs.

The two boats docked out at 1225hrs and by 1250hrs had sails up at the harbour entrance (America with a C5 mainsail and J2 headsail; Magic with a C4 headsail and J2 headsail). Both boats were up on foils at 1305hrs in 10kts of breeze for a 15 minute fast downwind run with five foiling gybes.

With the wind ramping up to 14-15 kts the crews changed to J3 headsails. A second flight lasting 55 minutes saw the boats complete two long windward / leeward laps in close formation with two foiling tacks and two foiling gybes. After a 15-minute break the boats set off on a third flight – this time lasting 30 minutes – featuring a long windward / leeward lap that saw just one foiling tack and two foiling gybes.

A 30-minute stop saw the teams change headsails – America to J2 C3; Magic to J2 C4 – and the sailors rotate between the boats. The final session was a mammoth one hour and 10 minute flight that was a huge windward / leeward lap followed by a final upwind match race back to the harbour. This final stint finished at 1655hrs with both crews bearing away into the harbour to drop sails in the main basin. Dock in was at 1715hrs. Another sailing day has been scheduled for tomorrow Thursday February 8. No sailing is scheduled for the following three days.

Crew: Co-helms: America - Paul Goodison and Harry Melges / Magic: Tom Slingsby and Lucas Calabrese. Flight Controller/Trimmers: America: Kyle Langford and Michael Menninger / Magic: Riley Gibbs and Andrew Campbell

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC40x2 - Day 88 - February 7, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunny/Hazy 17° C
  • Wind Strength: 10-15kts
  • Wind Direction: 180° - 220°
  • Sea State: Moderate chop
  • Crane In: 0925hrs|1125hrs Dock Out: 1226hrs
  • Dock In: 1714hrs Crane out: 1745hrs
  • Total Tacks: 39 - Fully foiling: 39; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 11 - Fully foiling: 11; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12 & AC40 - Day 121 - February 6 2024 - Cagliari

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) continued with their two-boat testing, using their test boat LEQ12(Red) and their AC40(White) sailing in One Design mode - or the factory supplied version of the AC 40.

The two boats were launched in the early morning at around 0800hrs.

Dockout was scheduled at 09:00hrs, only helms swapped between boats compared to previous day, with the 2021 Cup co-helms Jimmy Spithill and Francesco Bruni driving the White boat (AC40-OD) and the Jeddah Preliminary Regatta team of Ruggero Tita and Marco Gradoni helming the Red boat LEQ12.

Two cameras were again fitted on Wing04 and one on Wing01 on the LEQ12. As it was being towed out of the harbour a thick fog forced the team to dock back in and stand by.

Approximately an hour later, both boats were towed towards La Sella del Diavolo where the offshore pressure was firstly measured 7-9kts from 305° with flat water.

The first iteration of mainsail M1-1 was paired to the J1.5-2 on Red and the M1 OD was paired to J1 OD on White. As both boats started lining up distanced on each tack, the bottom gate was being setup. The pressure seemed increasing slightly and hence the J2 was hoisted on White. In the meanwhile, the Red boat kept on practicing starts on its own, focusing on the successful execution of full circles once in the box.

At 10:45hrs the first Prestart drill was run with Red on port, circling around committee boat able to chase down White. White trimmed up and tacked, red bore away and gybed. When approaching the line, red was faster and better timed so being able to start undisturbed from white which was behind.

There was a similar entry strategy for the second Start which saw the White boat start ahead, slightly more windward. As the boats were racing, Red gained with a wind shift and led all upwind and downwind crosses.

The third Prestart unfolded at 11:05 and saw Red pushing White approaching the line, white more leeward, Red tacked to port once started. When racing, White matched Red on each tack, winning the race.

Three more prestarts followed with one continuing into a race which was then abandoned after Red fell off its foils, on the top side of course where the breeze seemed less favorable.

At 11:35hrs both boat went to bigger jibs with the J1-1 on the LEQ12 and J1 OD on the AC40.

As the breeze was decreasing, the team seemed to work on the removal of one of the port foil cameras on the LEQ12 with a hammer.

As the LEQ12 was towed foilborne it did not survive its first tack on the top of the course, as the wind pressure was too marginal.

When the breeze settles in the boats started race practice again sailing another four starts. The tenth start evolved into a race, but the LEQ 12 fell off its foils again after a tack, and the end of the day's training was called for Red while White stayed out for a longer using it J1-OD.

Overall the boats seemed to have similar boat speeds in this light air. For this day an approximately foiling time of 115 minutes and approx. 50 tacks and 40 gybes [Abridged and edited report from Michele Melis AC Recon].

Crew: Red/LEQ12 - Marco Gradoni, Ruggero Tita, Vittorio Bissaro, Andrea Tesel. White/AC40 - JimmySpithill, Francesco Bruni, Umberto Molineris, Federico Colaninno

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - LEQ12 & AC40 - Day 121 - February 6 2024 - Cagliari

  • Weather: Cloudy 14°C
  • Wind Strength 7-10kts
  • Wind Direction: 305°-315°
  • Sea State:
  • Crane In: 0810hrs Dock Out: 0930hrs
  • Dock In: 1415hrs Crane out:
  • Total Tacks: 50 - Fully foiling: 41; Touch & Go: 6; Touch Down: 3
  • Total Gybes: 40 - Fully foiling: 35; Touch & Go: 4; 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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