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Cup Spy March 2: Luna Rossa retire test boat. Progress report for January and February

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 4 Mar 05:39 PST 29 February 2024
Luna Rossa - AC40 - Day 128 - March 2, 2024 - Cagliari © Ivo Rovira / America's Cup

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli was the only team to sail on Saturday, having missed a planned sailing day due to lack of wind on the Friday.

It transpired that this was the last sail for the Italian team's custom design LEQ12 test boat, which is being retired, temporarily at least.

In the update we have expanded on the sailing days for each team in January and February. Surprisingly Emirates Team New Zealand has sailed the least of all teams except the French.

What happened in the Cup - March 2, 2024:

  • INEOS Britannia - did not sail; they are on a three-week break and must also resolve the issues arising from a lithium battery fire on their newest AC40 Sienna. In January and February, the team sailed a total of 17 days. For all their lost time, the British team sailed for two days more than the Kiwis in January and February.

  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing: Last Friday, they sailed their AC75 from Barcelona and are now the only team sailing an AC75. They are one of four teams expected to launch their AC75 race boats in April. In January and February, the team sailed 31 days in total - the highest of any team. That included two eight-day sessions each month sailing in Jeddah - sail testing and developing their match racing playbook.

  • Emirates Team New Zealand - Their sailing program has been disrupted by the late return of their one design AC40-OD. The other AC40 is being used as a LEQ12 test boat. The Cup Defenders sailed for nine days in January and six in February for 15 days in total, the lowest of all teams except France. This low total sailing days is surprising, given that Auckland has had one of its best summers for years. It may point to the team moving even further into a reliance on technology - with the actual sailing being to verify what they see on the design computers. Alternatively, this period was blocked out on the assumption they would have two AC40s available. They could have match-raced and developed their America's Cup playbook as several other teams have.

  • American Magic - The team has sailed a mix of one and two AC40 sessions. Their AC75 Patriot was retired on January 23, 2024. They sailed for 12 days in January and 14 in February for 26 days - the second highest of the six AC teams. Although they got a late start into this America's Cup, they have been getting through the work, and co-helm Tom Slingsby has been sailing well in the SailGP circuit. They have yet to announce a launch date for their AC75. A few weeks ago, the sailing team boss commented that they were making a very late run with their AC75 raceboat launch and that a team could not leave their launch much later than the New York YC challenger.

  • Orient Express Racing Team - the French sailed for one day in January and four days in February, undertaking testing (when they had to be accompanied by the AC37 Joint Recon team). They have sailed their One-Design mode (not accompanied by Recon teams and not scored in Sailing Days calculations).

  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - sailed on Sunday to make up for their lost day on Saturday, when the wind failed to appear as forecast. Today was the last day sailing the team's custom design LEQ12 - and today's test sail probably brings the Italians to the end of a test block. In many ways, their LEQ12 has been quite impressive, as has its pairing with their AC40. The LEQ12 has been 'dumbed down' to get closer to the performance of the AC40. To the surprise of some, using two dissimilar boats has mimicked what they can expect in the Louis Vuitton Cup and maybe America's Cup, when the boats used will not be one-design with similar sailing characteristics. It will be interesting to see how the lessons learned from the LEQ12 will transfer to their AC75 race boat, which is due for launch in early April. The Italians sailed for nine days in January and ten days in February for 19 days in total - nine days less than American Magic and 13 days less than the Swiss.
[Sailing days for all teams are based on AC37 Joint Recon team attendance, which excludes One Design sailing but does include days when the team intended and set up to sail but on which there was no wind. They include boats being splashed for Foil Control System and other similar checks.]

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) - LEQ12 - Day 128 - March 2, 2024 - Cagliari

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli rolled out their AC40 (White) at 11:30hrs and their LEQ12 (Red) at 12:00hrs, stepped masts and launched respectively at 11:55hrs and 12:20hrs. Dockout was scheduled for 13:00hrs, and both yachts were towed out of the harbour.

Sail selection: M1 and the recently modified AC40 J-1-1 (now with window) were hoisted on White; the main for stronger breeze M2-1 was paired to the J1.5-2 on Red.

The forecast looked lighter than expected, with flat waters closer to shore and a light breeze from 135° of 7-9kts. Red's first foiling session lasted approximately 13 minutes, in which three tacks and one gybe were executed before Red fell off its foils, exiting the last tack.

The second short foiling exercise lasted less than five minutes, counting two additional tacks lined up with the White boat before coming off its foils again.

The White boat looked slightly more able to stay foil borne exiting each manoeuvre. As the breeze decreased offshore from the harbour, both yachts headed on a long starboard tack run towards offshore Poetto, where the breeze seemed more stable. After this long run, Red tacked and struggled again to stay alive, foil-borne, exiting the manoeuvre. As the light air was now less than marginal, the J1.5 was lowered on Red, which was then towed approximately 35 minutes towards Pula.

In the middle of the bay, a larger swell of approx .7m from 195° was encountered. The team stopped offshore of Perd'e Sali, seeking shelter from the swell, but there, the pressure seemed over the upper wind range, measuring 18-20 kts with a gust of 22kts on the Recon anemometer.

After waiting a while, the team decided to lower the main and head back to the harbour while the White boat stayed closer and tried to take advantage of the light air nearby. The day was called for the Red yacht with 25 minutes foiling time, five tacks and one gybe

[Michele Melis AC Recon].

Crew: White Marco Gradoni, Francesco Bruni, Vittorio Bissaro, Rocco Falcne Crew: RedRuggero Tita, Francesco Bruni, Rocco Falcone, Umberto Molineris, Andrea Tesei

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) - LEQ12 - Day 128 - March 2, 2024 - Cagliari

  • Weather: Sunny 18°C
  • Wind Strength 5-21kts
  • Wind Direction: 135°-195°
  • Sea State: 0.7mtr from 195°
  • Crane In: 1230hrs Dock Out: 1300hrs
  • Dock In: 1515hrs Crane out:
  • Total Tacks: 5 - Fully foiling: 1; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 1 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0

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, and 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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