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Cup Spy Feb 13: Unfortunate end to Brits session in Barcelona. Swiss 2-boat in Jeddah

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 13 Feb 16:25 PST 14 February 2024
A dawn start for INEOS Britannia - AC40 - Day 32 - February 13, 2024 - Barcelona © Paul Todd/America's Cup

Two America's Cup teams sailed - all in AC40s - from Barcelona and Jeddah. Alinghi Red Bull Racing continued with their two AC40 sail testing program. The team sailed with custom design mainsails and J2 and J3 jibs. The British did two boat race practice. But the breeze faded.

What happened in the Cup - February 13, 2024:

  • INEOS Britannia - Sailed their two AC40s off Barcelona for the second successive day. The day started early, docking out at 0745hrs. After racing and start sessions, the wind eased. Sienna (Dylan Fletcher and Ben Cornish) had problems staying on its foils and then suffered what could have been ingres from one of these incidents. Several of the sailing team will head for Sydney mid-next week for the SailGP regatta.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing - resumed their sail testing program off Jeddah, in a 5-15kts breeze, sailing their two AC40's. Former ETNZ and American Magic AC helmsman Dean Barker once again 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 J2 and J3 custom design jibs. The J1s were also loaded, but were carried off before the dock-out. Yesterday the J1s and J2s were tested while the J3s remained in the bag on the tender.
  • Orient Express Racing Team - No report. The sailing team will head for Sydney mid-next week for the SailGP regatta.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand - Did not sail. Both Chase and Recon boats on the hardstand on Tuesday, while light winds in Gulf as forecast. 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 - Sailed their other AC40 (AC40-8) set up with one-design wingfoils and wingarms. They sailed for over three in near perfect foiling conditions. Take-off speed was estimated at 16kts in these conditions. The team were able to undertake 108 tacks and gybes for a 96% dry foiling record. The US team used a single custom designed J2 and M1 all day.
  • Orient Express Racing Team - were spotted in one image sailing their AC40, presumably in one-design mode.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - No sailing reported by the LEQ12. However their AC40 performed a very spectacular and violent nosedive when being sailed off Cagliari by a Youth crew.

INEOS Britannia - AC40-2 and AC40-10 - Day 32 - February 13, 2024 - Barcelona

INEOS Team Britannia made an early morning start to catch the predicted early breeze in Barcelona. They rolled out their two AC40s, Sienna (AC40-10) and Athena (AC40-2) in one-design foil configuration, before 0700hrs, and docked out at 0745hrs. Both AC40s had been left with their masts up and out of the shed overnight.

Both boats got on the tow and headed towards the airport area with no sails. Once there, at 08:20hrs, One-design mainsails were hoisted, combined with the LEQ12 J2-4 on AC40-2 and a one-design J2 on AC40-10.

North-westerly offshore winds of 8 to 14 knots of intensity prevailed during the session, providing good conditions for racing.

For the first 25 minutes, both boats warmed up, sailing independently from one another, while the coaches set an upwind-downwind course with top and bottom gates.

Just after 0900hrs, the first sequence of the day got underway. Athena had the port entry, while Sienna did it on starboard. During the last thirty seconds remaining to the start, boat Athena had full control of Sienna, standing to leeward and very close, being both boats to windward of the starboard end layline.

Athena (Ben Ainslie/Giles Scott) locked Sienna (Dylan Fletcher/ben Cornish) and finally had a clear-ahead start. From there on, Athena covered Sienna and extended all the time. After five tacks, Athena rounded the top right gate in the lead with an eight-second gap. Sienna rounded the opposite top gate.

Athena crossed ahead of Sienna on the downwind leg after both boats gybed once. However, Athena went too far to the left side (looking upwind) and overlayed the bottom right gate (always looking upwind), almost losing the position to Sienna. Ainslie/Scott managed to round still in the lead one boat-length ahead of Fletcher/Cornish after coming back on fast high mode.

Sienna tacked immediately after rounding and fell off the foils. At that moment, the race was abandoned.

Race 2: Both boats switched entries. It was an evened start with A to windward and B to leeward. There was a slight advantage for Athena who took advantage of a right shift right at the start. The parity continued for almost the entire upwind, with the two boats rounding the opposite top gates almost at the same time, B to the left and A to the right. On the downwind, after both boats did one gybe, B crossed just ahead. However, Sienna had a poor second gybe and then an even a worse third gybe that ended up in a hard nosedive. At that moment the race was abandoned.

At 09:30hrs there was a twenty-minute break. Sienna had to re-attach the anemometer at the end of the bowsprit that got released on the nosedive.

Race 3: At 09:55hrs a third sequence started. This start saw both boats approach the starting line coming from far away deep in the box, sailing on closed-hauled course managing time and distance, with a big lateral gap in between them. Athena to windward of Sienna had a better start and was already ahead and to windward of B before the first tack. Athena covered Sienna from there on and extended. Ainslie/Scott rounded the top left gate after four tacks with a 10-second lead over Sienna who headed to the opposite gate.

Athena rounded the bottom right gate after three gybes and then the race was abandoned. Sienna struggled to achieve clean gybes.

Races 4 and 5 saw boat Sienna fall off the foils just before the start. Both races were abandoned immediately after started. It was not apparent if they were already suffering consequences of the electronic issues that became evident a few minutes later.

At 10.15hrs, boat Sienna tied up to the chase boat and the boat captain plus two shore-team members came onboard to work for half an hour inside the port side cockpit. Unfortunately, whichever problem they had could not be solved and that was the end of the day for Sienna.

In the meantime, Athena sailed around waiting for its training partner.

At 10:45hrs the wind had dropped considerably, and Athena changed the LEQ J2-4 for a One-design J1. However, ten minutes after, once it became clear that Sienna could not solve its problem, both boats lowered their sails and headed back to the port on the tow.

Once docked at 11:55hrs, the intention was to try to go out for an afternoon session. However, twenty minutes after, the team decided to end the sailing activities for the day.

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 32 - February 13, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Cloudy, 17°.
  • Wind Strength 6kts - 14kts
  • Wind Direction: 320 °- 340°
  • Sea State: 0.6mtr mostly flat
  • Crane In: 0823|0654hrs Dock Out: 0754hrs
  • Dock In: 1155hrs Crane out:
  • Total Tacks: 37 - Fully foiling: 26; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 22 - Fully foiling: 21; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 OD & LEQ12 - Day 76 - February 13, 2024 - Jeddah

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

Alinghi Red Bull Racing's AC40-4 (Red) and AC40-7 (Black) were rolled out before 0930hrs. Other than standard checks, there was a focus sail control systems, with work observed carried out by the electronics and hydraulics techs, particularly around the traveller systems.

They docked out almost 3 hours after being launched, at 1230hrs, when the breeze had built to 11-15kts. J3 sails were initially hoisted.

Both boats were prepared with full LE sail selections. Notably, the teams carried J1 sails off the dock before dockout. The crew configurations remained unchanged from previous days, and no crew swaps were carried out. The team docked out at 12:30,

Sailing commenced from the Obhur Creek entrance, just before 1300hrs, with both boats stopping after just a couple of minutes to drop the J3 jibs in exchange for J2 jibs, as the breeze dropped to 5-8kts. The Black boat set off on an upwind/downwind, as the Red boat dropped the custom design mainsail to adjust top diagonal batten on the new M1-4 mainsail.

The second sailing session started at 1330hrs and lasted 30 minutes. The Black boat set off on a long upwind stretch on port, as Red finalised sail setup, then joining up with Black to commence a long stretch on starboard sailing in parallel, followed by a shorter stretch on starboard. The yachts then turned downwind and sailed in parallel, completing five gybes each.

The third session lasted 15 minutes as the team sailed split tacks upwind and split gybes downwind, before dropping the J2 jibs in exchange for J3 jibs, this time swapping the J3 sails between boats to assess performance differences.

With the breeze now at 7-11kts the two AC40s practiced a bracket of four pre-starts. Black entered on port for the first two starts, and with Red entering on port for the following two starts.

Start 5 saw Red enter on port, and with a clear start, the yachts continued into a two-lap race, with multiple lead changes, as Dean Barker and Max Bachelin on the Red boat won the race just ahead of Black.

Start 6 saw Red enter on port, starting to windward of Black and leading the 1.5 lap (22minute) race from start to finish at the second windward mark, then continuing back to base to finish the day.

Sails were dropped by 16:20 - ending the practice. During the four-hour session on the water, the team spent 145 minutes sailing, achieving a 97% fully foiling rate across 94 manoeuvres.

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

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 OD & LEQ12 - Day 76 - February 13, 2024 - Jeddah

  • Weather: 28° degrees. Cloudy
  • Wind Strength: 5-15kts
  • Wind Direction: 215°-230°
  • Sea State: 0.3-0.6mtr
  • Crane In: 0925|0955 Dock Out: 1230hrs
  • Dock In: 1625hrs Crane out: 1850|1715hrs
  • Total Tacks: 54 Fully foiling: 52; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 40 Fully foiling: 39; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1

American Magic - AC40-8 - Day 83 - February 13, 2024 - Barcelona

Edited: NYYC American Magic followed up a day of single-one-design AC40 sailing yesterday (Monday, February 12) aboard America with a day on Magic using custom sails.

Magic was rolled out at 1118hrs and was rigged and launched by 1142hrs ahead of a 1326hrs dock out.

Sails (M C5 mainsail and J1.5 C2 headsail) were hoisted at the harbour entrance, with the boat leaving the harbour at 1350hrs.

With the southerly breeze blowing at only 6-7kts from the south, it took the crew about 10 minutes to get airborne.

Once up, the sailors launched into a 37-minute downwind flight featuring 20 foiling gybes and one touch-and-go gybe.

After a 10-minute break and with the breeze now at 10kts, the crew set off on a second flight that lasted close to an hour and saw 18 foiling tacks, 11 foiling gybes, one touchdown gybe, and one touch-and-go gybe.

After a two-minute break, the boat was airborne again for a 10-minute flight in 7-8 knots of breeze, featuring two foiling tacks and eight foiling gybes. A 15-minute stop for a battery swap followed before a final hour-long windward / leeward flight that saw 45 foiling tacks, three touch-and-go tacks, and one fall off the foils in a lull. The boat sailed into the harbour at 1725hrs and was back on the dock at 1745hrs.

Report from Justin Chisholm - AC37 Joint Recon Team

Crew: Paul Goodison, Tom Slingsby, Riley Gibbs, Andrew Campbell

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC40-8 - Day 83 - February 13, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunny 14-16° C
  • Wind Strength: 6-10kts
  • Wind Direction: 180°-200°
  • Sea State: 0.3metre swell offshore
  • Crane In: 1142hrs Dock Out: 1326hrs
  • Dock In: 1745hrs Crane out: 1815hrs
  • Total Tacks: 67 - Fully foiling: 65; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 41 - Fully foiling: 39; Touch & Go: 1; 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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