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Cup Spy Feb 12: Brits appear in Barcelona after a 10 day absence

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 12 Feb 15:57 PST 12 February 2024
INEOS Britannia - AC40 - Day 31 - February 12, 2024 - Barcelona © Paul Todd/America's Cup

Three America's Cup teams sailed - all in AC40s - from Barcelona and Jeddah. Alinghi Red Bull Racing continued with their two AC40 training program in Jeddah with Dean Barker again co-helming. The team sailed with custom design mainsails and jibs- with more on hand in the chase boat.

What happened in the Cup - February 12, 2024:

  • INEOS Britannia - Sailed their two AC40s off Barcelona for the first time since February 2, when they had a very productive race training session. They sailed today in winds that peaked at 17kts. The two boats were in AC40 One design configuration except for the use of a custom design J2 jib on their AC40-10 (Athena) for 70 minutes. The Brits were shadowed by the AC37 Joint Recon Team. We are now outside the initial two-week embargo period on showing the team's new livery on AC-10 Athena - and for the first time, images of the two AC40s sailing together can now be shown. Several of the sailing team will head for Sydney mid-next week for the SailGP regatta.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing - resumed what appears to be a continuation of a sail testing program off Jeddah, in a good breeze, but near 1-metre choppy seas, using their two AC40's. Former ETNZ and American Magic AC helmsman Dean Barker joined the session as a co-helmsman. The boats sailed with one design wing foils and tested two custom design mainsails, and four custom design jibs (J1 & J2's), along with two J3's which remained in the chase boat.
  • Orient Express Racing Team - Was reported on AC.com to have been sailed from Barcelona in One Design mode and, as a result, had no AC37 Joint Recon Team presence or report. The sailing team will head for Sydney mid-next week for the SailGP regatta.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand - No sailing on Monday. Both Chase and Recon boats on the hardstand on Tuesday, while light winds in Gulf as forecast. There is a better forecast on Wednesday, and it is not known if the team will sail for the rest of the week. Several of the sailing team will head for Sydney mid-next week for the SailGP regatta.
  • American Magic - No sailing as advised last week.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - No sailing reported.

INEOS Britannia - AC40-2 and AC40-10 - Day 30 - February 2, 2024 - Barcelona

INEOS Team Britannia rolled out their two AC40s, Athena (AC40-2) and Sienna (AC40-10) in one-design foils´ configuration, at 08.30hrs and 09.19hrs. They were launched at 09.06hrs and 09.58hrs, respectively, after stepping the mast and measuring the tension on the forestay on both boats.

Two go-pro cameras were added under the spreaders of AC40 - 10. The team docked out at 11:12hrs, after a short ten-minute delay.

The team got on the tow with no sails and headed towards the America´s Cup racing area. The crew pairings and boats remained the same as when they last sailed on February 2. Once on the America's Cup course, at 11:40hrs one-design mainsails were hoisted, combined with the LEQ12 J2-4 on Athena and a one-design J2 on Sienna.

For the first half of the training, shifty, puffy and patchy west-southwest winds prevailed, oscillating from 250° to 225° in direction, and from 6kts to 13kts in intensity.

At 12:45hrs, the wind shifted left to 215° and increased in intensity, averaging 16 kts, gusting 17kts and more at times, providing more stable wind conditions, but much more challenging when combined with the 0.90 mtr swell from 195°.

From 11:55hrs till 12:20hrs both boats warmed up, sailing independently one from another, while the coaches set an upwind-downwind course with top and bottom gates.

At 12:20hrs the first race got underway. It was an even start with Athena to leeward of Sienna. Close to the left virtual boundary, both boats tacked almost at the same time, with a four boat-length lateral gap. Athena standing to the left, found more breeze and a better shift, coming out higher on port after the tack and built a lead from there on. On the last third of the upwind, the wind decreased dramatically in intensity, with Sienna falling off the foils and Athena extending and rounding the top left gate in the lead, far ahead of Sienna, which was left sailing in displacement mode for many minutes. Athena rounded the bottom right gate after three gybes on the lead, almost half-a-leg ahead of Sienna. Then the race was abandoned.

At 12:40hrs a second starting sequence got underway. Approximately thirty seconds before the start there was a considerable shift to the left, making the pin end extremely favored, leaving both boats unexpectedly under the pin end lay-line.

Athena which was to windward in a controlling position saw the opportunity and pushed boat Sienna to leeward of the pin end. At the starting time, Athena was tacking to cross the starting line on port a few seconds lake, while Sienna was left to leeward of the pin on starboard tack. Immediately after, the race was abandoned.

At 12:45hrs the wind shifted left to 215° and built in intensity very quickly. Both changed to the J3 One Design jibs and move closer to the shelter of the shore. Two virtual upwind-downwind were executed by both boats while the coaches picked up the marks from the former race area and tried to re-set the course closer to the harbor.

At 13:30hrs, Athena stopped and stayed heading into the wind for approximately thirty minutes. Sienna continued to do some tacks and gybes, ventilating and nosediving on two occasions.

At 14:00hrs the two boats were back sailing and tried to speed test downwind. After sailing for not more than two minutes, boat Sienna ventilated and nosedived, being forced to stop. Once sorted, a short upwind speed test was performed that ended up entering the port at 14:15hrs

At 14:20hrs both boats lowered their sails inside the harbor and the session ended.

Sebastian Peri Brusa - Recon on INEOS Britannia

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

Session Statistics: INEOS Britannia - AC40-2 and AC40-10 - Day 31 - February 12, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunny, 19 degrees.
  • Wind Strength 9kts - 17kts
  • Wind Direction: 215 °- 250°
  • Sea State: 0.9mtr 0195°
  • Crane In: 0906|0958hrs Dock Out: 1112hrs
  • Dock In: 1440hrs Crane out: 1510hrs
  • Total Tacks: 24 - Fully foiling: 21; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 20 - Fully foiling: 17; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 2

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 OD & LEQ12 - Day 74 - February 12, 2024 - Jeddah

Edited - Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailed their two AC40s, AC40-7 (Black) and AC40-4 (Red), for the second successive day as part of a 10-day sail testing block.

Full LE (custom-designed) sail plans were prepared for the day, ahead of the 14:30hrs dockout, which was delayed due to the late arrival of thermal wind. Three new sails were commissioned today: the M1-4 LE mainsail, the J1-5 LE and the J2-4 LE jib.

The standard crew configuration was maintained from the previous day, with Dean Barker helming Red alongside Maxime Bachelin, and Arnaud Psarofaghis and Nico Charbonnier helming Black. The M1-3 LE mainsail and J1-3 LE jib were hoisted on the Red boat, while the M1-4 LE and J1-5 LE were hoisted on the Black boat.

The team started with an upwind/downwind 22 minute period of sail testing in an 8-12kt wind, sailing long stretches on each tack. Following this stint, the J1 jibs were dropped and exchanged for the J2-3 LE on Black and the new J2-4 LE on Red.

The team then exercised another 30-minute phase of sail testing in 9-12kt breeze, with Black making a clew adjustment after the first upwind tack while Red executed 360 manoeuvres in the meantime. The team then continued on the same course as the previous test. A full crew swap was carried out ahead of the next phase.

A bit more side-by-side testing was carried out, again in 9-12kt breeze followed by split tacks upwind, then rounding a stationary chase boat at windward. Then followed by a long downwind gybing battle back to the course start line.

The breeze increased from 11-14kts as the team started racing exercises. Starts 1 and 2 saw the Black boat entering on port, Red on starboard. The second start was more aggressive, with Black (Dean + Max) pushed into an OCS.

The breeze eased slightly to 10-13kts.

Start 3 saw the Red boat enter on port, Black on starboard, with both boats starting clear, with Black to windward, then getting rolled after the first tack. Start 4 saw Red entering on port and both boats approaching the start early, resulting in Black (Dean) sailing over Red (Arnaud) at the line but Black was early to the start and being forced to sail below the pin end.

The session concluded with two one-lap races were sailed in the final set, with the course 1nm long, and a single windward mark.

Start 5 (R1) saw Red enter on port, with Black turning up high on the approach to the start, forcing Red to tack off to the right, where they found big gains and led at the top mark, extending their lead to the leeward gate, as Black touched down at the leeward mark rounding.

Start 6 (R 2) saw Black enter on port, then starting to windward and tacking off immediately, with Red following soon after. A tacking battle ensued in the middle of the course, as Black made it to the windward mark just ahead, but touched down while tacking round the mark, due to miscommunication between Dean and Max (Black). Red rolled Black and led downwind to wind the final race, as both boats then headed back to base.

Sails were dropped by 17:50hrs, marking the end of a productive session that spanned three and a half hours on the water and 125 minutes of active sailing. A total of 77 manoeuvres were observed, with a 97% fully foiling rate.

Crew:Co-Helms: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin, Nico Charbonnier, Dean Barker. Sail Trimmers/Flight controllers: Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey, Nico Rolaz, Jason Waterhouse.

Crew Roster: AC40-4 (RED) Starboard: Dean B + Jason W Port: Max B + Yves D. AC40-7 (BLACK) Starboard: Arnaud P + Bryan M Port: Nico C + Nico R. Full Crew Swap at 16:00hrs (ahead of the practice racing at the end of today's session)

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 OD & LEQ12 - Day 74 - February 12, 2024 - Jeddah

  • Weather: 33° degrees. Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 9-14kts
  • Wind Direction: 290°-310°
  • Sea State: 0.2-0.5mtr WNW (290°
  • Crane In: 1055|1130 Dock Out: 1430hrs
  • Dock In: 1800hrs Crane out: 1815|1840hrs
  • Total Tacks: 43 Fully foiling: 42; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 34 Fully foiling: 33; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0

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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