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Cup Spy Feb 19: Three teams train - two stay solo

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 19 Feb 21:24 PST 18 February 2024
Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 - Day 81 - February 19, 2024 - Jeddah, Saudi Arabia © Alex Carabi / America's Cup

Three teams sailed in Cagliari, Barcelona, and Jeddah. It was a day for solo sailing - with American Magic and Luna Rossa reverting to one-boat testing. In Jeddah, Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailed two AC40s, doing mainly race practice and some PR work.

What happened in the Cup - February 19, 2024:

  • INEOS Britannia - Did not sail, are in a three week break, but also have to resolve the issues arising from their lithium battery fire. Several of the sailing team will head for Sydney mid-week for the SailGP regatta.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing - continued their sail testing program off Jeddah.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand - No report. The sailing team will head for Sydney mid-week for the SailGP regatta.
  • American Magic - Reverted to sailing a single AC40 with custom designed sails.
  • Orient Express Racing Team - no report.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - No sailing reported by the AC37 Joint Recon program

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 OD & LEQ12 - Day 81 - February 19, 2024 - Jeddah

Alinghi Red Bull Racing's started early again in anticipation of stronger winds in the afternoon, with the AC40-7 (Black) left on the forecourt overnight and launched at 07:05hrs.

The AC40-4 (Red) was rolled out five minutes later and launched at 07:30hrs.

Both boats, prepared with full LE (custom design) sail plans and a backup One Design J3 jibs, and with the same crew combination as the previous day, the team docked out at 08:30hrs.

For the train-spotters, the Red boat hoisted the M1-4 LE mainsail and the J1-5 LE jib, while the Black boat opted for the M1-3 LE and the J1-3 LE.

Both boats engaged and sailed in parallel, bearing bore away for a short ten-minute downwind warm-up characterized by three gybes. The increasing wind prompted a switch from the J1 jib to the J3 sails, with Red selecting the J3-2 LE and Black the J3-1 LE.

Then followed a 25 minute media/marketing/PR session allowing guests at the helm for promotional activities. A quick crew swap allowed the team to transition back into training.

Next came a 40-minute session doing prestart practice in 12-15kts of breeze, with Red entering on port for the three starts. The third start continued into a two-lap race, which saw a close fight, with Red ultimately controlling the race and extending their lead on the last downwind.

The next two starts saw Black enter on port. Black started to windward on Start 4 and avoiding getting rolled after the first tack by luffing up, forcing Red to tack off and back again. Start 5 saw Black touch down but recover and go on to win the start, with Red trailing behind, seemingly with an issue, as both boats then came to a stop at the end of the 15-minute phase.

Next followed a 20 minute race in a 17kt breeze.

Black entered Start 6 on port and started ahead, as Red lost grip rounding up to the startline too aggressively. This start continued into a two lap race, with Black leading the ¾ legs until a touch down gybe allowed Red to overtake and secure the win.

Both boats then made their way back to Obhur Creek to conclude the day's sailing. The day ended with the boats docking in by 11:45hrs and the last boat craned out by 12:25.

The session spanned just over three hours on the water, with 110 minutes of active sailing, and, excluding the PR session, a total of 64 manoeuvres were observed of the Black boat, achieving a 94% fully foiling rate amidst a mild to aggressive chop and changing wind conditions.

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

Crew Roster: AC40-4 (Red) Starboard: Jason W + Bryan M Port: Nico C + Yves D AC40-7 (Black) Starboard: Arnaud P + Lucien C Port: Max B + Yves D

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 OD & LEQ12 - Day 81 - February 19, 2024 - Jeddah

  • Weather: 28°C. Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 8-17kts
  • Wind Direction: 005°-330°
  • Sea State: 0.7-1.1mtr
  • Crane In: 0730hrs|0705hrs Dock Out: 0830hrs
  • Dock In: 1145hrs Crane out: 1200hrs
  • Total Tacks: 42 Fully foiling: 39; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 29 Fully foiling: 27; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 0

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) - LEQ12 - Day 123 - February 19, 2024 - Cagliari

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) rolled out their LEQ12 prototype at 8:30hrs, stepped the mast and launched the yacht by 8:45hrs.

In addition to the usual checks, a calibration test appeared to be executed with an aluminium beam placed perpendicular to the mast, which rotated at designated angles. Shortly before dockout at 10:00hrs, the first iteration mainsail M1-1 was passed on deck. In a marginal foiling breeze, the prototype was towed out to hoist the main and pair it with the J1-1.

At 10:15hrs, the latter was measured 5-7kts from 345° with flat water all across the Gulf of Cagliari.

The LEQ12 was towed up three times but came off the foils exiting each tack manoeuvre. As the light air vanished completely, the team paused for 40 minutes, waiting for the breeze. As some puffs seemed to fill in closer to shore, the prototype was towed up and now able to foil steadily. The four sailors practised a series of manoeuvres in light air, working on slower manoeuvring techniques with adjusted cant speeds and angles.

At 11:25hrs, the breeze had suddenly ramped up to a higher range of 14-16kts from 315°, and hence, the J1-1 was lowered to hoist the J4-1.

Sailors swapped, and youth and women members boarded the prototype on the guest seats. A self-take-off followed, and once forborne, the team rolled straight back to manoeuvre practice with a large number of tacks, a couple of gybes and another longer series of tacks. Meanwhile, top and bottom marks were set, and two prestart drills were observed at 11:50 hrs.

Then, the LEQ12 was decelerated after approx 35 minutes for a quick lunch break. As the second foiling stint began, two additional prestart drills were practised. When on starboard entry, the previously seen full circle strategy around the committee boat entering the box. After the second one, an upwind and a downwind legs were sailed.

Next, the team executed a gybe following the bear away on the top mark, and JKs prevailed on the bottom gate. Additional legs followed the second of two additional prestarts before the yacht decelerated after 30 foiling minutes to swap sailors again. The pressure shifted further to 295° and decreased slightly in strength.

The LEQ12 was foiling at 12:55hrs, and the sixth solo prestart was then practised, sailing two laps around the course. As the sky cleared, the breeze picked up again, and marks were collected during the last 30-minute long foiling stint, which saw the LEQ12 sail on the virtual track before a straight line sailing towards the harbour.

A tow line was then passed, and at the end of the day it was called at 13:25hrs with 118 minutes foiling time, six prestarts, approximately 45 tacks and 35 gybes [Michele Melis AC Recon].

Crew: Marco Gradoni, Checco Bruni, Ruggero Tita, Umberto Molineris, Vittorio Bissaro, Andrea Tesei, Federico Colaninno

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) - LEQ12 - Day 122 - February 15, 2024 - Cagliari

  • Weather: Sunny 12°C
  • Wind Strength 13-18kts
  • Wind Direction: 330°-335°
  • Sea State: Mostly flat
  • Crane In: 0900hrs Dock Out: 1000hrs
  • Dock In: 1320hrs Crane out:
  • Total Tacks: 36 - Fully foiling: 29; Touch & Go: 4; Touch Down: 3
  • Total Gybes: 39 - Fully foiling: 33; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 4

American Magic - AC40 - Day 84 - February 19, 2024 - Barcelona

NYYC American Magic squeezed in a short single-boat training session aboard the AC40 America, sailing in winds ranging from 6kts up to 11kts and on a flat sea. America was rolled out at 0924hrs and launched an hour later after the shore crew had setup/calibrated the mast previously used on the team's second AC40 Magic.

More technical work went on once the boat was in the water as technicians with laptops spent considerable time raising and lowering the starboard foil arm.

The boat docked out at 1326hrs and left the harbour mouth at 1335hrs. The MN4 mainsail was hoisted by 1345hrs – with a small camera observed attached to the centre of the top edge of the starboard skin – but with the wind below 5kts at this point it was not until 1410hrs that the J1 C1 headsail was hoisted.

The boat was released from its chase boat side tow at 1420hrs but it was until 1445hrs that enough breeze arrived to get it up and foiling.

As well as a short stop to allow for a reset of the rooftop camera on the main chase boat and a sudden unexpected splashdown while sailing upwind, this flight lasted 25 minutes in winds that peaked at 11 knots. Next up was a 25-minute two-lap 'practice race', which started in 8 knots of breeze that faded slowly to 6.5 knots by the end.

Three failed tow-ups followed – one which ended in a spectacular wipeout and near capsize – before the boat got flying again for a few minutes before ultimately running out of the breeze.

Time was called at 1630hrs with the boat arriving back on the dock at 1700hrs. Another sailing day is planned for tomorrow, Tuesday, February 20.

Crew: Co-helms: America - Paul Goodison and Lucas Calabrese. Flight Controller/Trimmers: America: Michael Menninger and Andrew Campbell

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC40 - Day 84 - February 19, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 14° C Clearing skies
  • Wind Strength: 5-11kts
  • Wind Direction: 180° - 200°
  • Sea State: Flat
  • Crane In: 1030hrs Dock Out: 1330hrs
  • Dock In: 1700hrs Crane out: 1730hrs
  • Total Tacks: 14 - Fully foiling: 13; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 22 - Fully foiling: 19; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 2

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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