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Cup Spy March 6: Multiple Cup winner, Glenn Ashby works with Orient Express Racing

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 7 Mar 05:25 PST 7 March 2024
Orient Express (FRA) - AC40 - Day 9 - March 6, 2024 - Barcelona © Paul Todd/America's Cup

Three times America's Cup winner, Glenn Ashby appeared on the Orient Express Racing Team coach boat off Barcelona, this week.

Described by the AC37 Joint Recon Team as an "External Consultant" who has been with the team for the past three days. Ashby was a coach for Oracle Racing the winning 2010 America's Cup team, and then switched to Emirates Team New Zealand for the 2013, 2017 and 2021 America's Cups. He was mainsail/wingsail trimmer in the winning 2017 and 2021 America's Cups.

In the current America's Cup cycle, the Olympic silver medalist and multiple world A-class champion was the "pilot" of Emirates Team New Zealand's world landspeed sailing record land yacht setting a new record of 225.58km/h (140.17mph) at Lake Gairdner, South Australia, in April 2023.

In the interview below, the professional sailmaker says that his current role is "very much a sort of a helicopter view from the outside, if you like, looking inside the team"

He says he is not with the team full time but will come in for a few days at a time "talk about the physics, and how the AC75s work, and what the Orient Express team, are likely to experience as they as they move forward. While we're spending time with the sailing team, there's other departments, design and management, that you can be involved with as well. So the role is really a global overview of the campaign as a whole."

"Once the racing starts, I'll be having to put my commentary head on and get into into the commentary booth for that side of things," he added.

What happened in the Cup - March 6, 2024:

  • INEOS Britannia - launched and attempted to sail but were thwarted by the light winds in Barcelona.

  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing: Left the harbour hoping to train, but the breeze was a no-show, well not in the strength required. The session turned into a opportunity for the bigger team to have a look inside the boat, and try out some of the crew positions. Their AC75 race boat arrived on Monday, the stated launch date is not before April 5.

  • Emirates Team New Zealand - The Kiwis sailed today in a building gusty offshore breeze that hit 18kts and consistently gusted over 20kts - with flat water - ideal for testing top end speed and cavitation. ETNZ's AC75 raceboat is nearing completion and the team is one of four who have notified an April launch date.

  • American Magic - The US team cracked the port topside of America on Monday during two boat training, and the trained only with Magic yesterday, and did not go on the water today, Wednesday.

  • Orient Express Racing Team - Sailed for the third successive day on Wednesday. Today three times America's Cup winner Glenn Ashby was on the water with the team - explaining his role as having a "helicopter view from the outside" over all aspects of the AC75, and getting the French crew up to speed.

  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - The Italian team have retired their LEQ12 test boat, which has served the team well. They too have notified an April launch date for their AC75 raceboat.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Orient Express Racing Team - AC40 - Day 9 - March 6, 2024 - Barcelona

The OE Racing Team launched their AC40 at 1108 hrs. The AC40 had been left with the mast up and out of the shed overnight. The team docked out at 1305 hrs, as expected.

A one-design J1 and the custom design LEQ12-MN-A mainsail were hoisted while heading out of the harbour.

A marginal southerly breeze of 4 - 7 kts prevailed during today's session, combined with flat water conditions.

After hoisting both sails inside the harbour, team OE experienced a minor problem that required two shore team members to work inside the front hatch for the following twenty minutes. Nevertheless, by 1340hrs, the team was ready to go.

For the first 30 minutes of the session, the AC40 sailed upwind on both tacks with a very aggressive pitch angle, flying high on the foils, with the bow pointing down and the rudder elevator very close to the surface. We saw spray coming out from the back of the rudder and the bow hitting the surface at times. This tendency was sustained throughout the entire session. Please refer to the pictures for details.

At 1410hrs, there was a fifteen-minute break in which Glenn Ashby got onboard for de-briefing.

Once finished, the wind had dropped, and the first of four towing take-offs occurred.

After one attempt, the team was forced to take another break due to the lack of wind. During this time, both sails were lowered to adjust the tension on the battens.

By 15:25hrs, both sails were up again, but the wind was not strong enough.

For the following 80 minutes, three towing take-offs allowed OERT to sail in a straight line until they did one tack or gybe, to end up falling off the foils.

We only identified two complete foiling tacks throughout the day. However, most of the manoeuvres counted as "fully landed" occurred in conditions under the racing wind limit.

At 16:45hrs, there was a ten-minute break for a battery replacement.

During the last twenty minutes, the OE Racing Team did one upwind-downwind, trying to make a few tacks and gybes, but the wind was not strong enough, falling from the foils on all of them.

At 1715hrs, the team ended the training and lowered their sails. OE entered the port on the tow with no sails at 1745hrs and docked at 1752hrs.

Sebastian Peri Brusa – Recon on OE Racing Team

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

Session Statistics: Orient Express Racing Team - AC40 - Day 9 - March 6, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 16° C. Partly sunny
  • Wind Strength 4.5-6kts
  • Wind Direction: 165° - 190°
  • Sea State: 0.5mtr
  • Crane In: 1108hrs Dock Out: 1305hrs
  • Dock In: 1752hrs Crane out: 1825hrs
  • Total Tacks: 24 - Fully foiling: 2; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 22
  • Total Gybes: 7 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 7

Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 - Day 69 - March 6, 2024 - Auckland

Day 69 of Emirates Team New Zealand sailing their AC40 hull being used as a test boat or LEQ12.

The team rolled into a rig-up and boat splash at around 10:15hr. Showing no visual changes to the foils or boat, the team went into setting up this morning, running through some at-dock checks over the foil control and rig control systems.

Leaving the dock just after 11:00 hrs, the team towed towards Mechanics Bay, where they proceeded to hoist custom-designed M2 and J3 sails, which were an obvious choice given the strength of the SW wind.

Popping onto the foils, the team sailed downwind out of the harbour towards Rangitoto Lighthouse.

With flat water and 15-18 knots, ideal conditions for foiling and speed testing, the Recon Unit sometimes had trouble keeping up with LEQ12. The team gybed just north of Rangitoto Lighthouse and headed downwind some more. Gybing back and rounding up, the team started putting the boat through rapid, tight manoeuvres.

Completing a few quick laps between Takapuna Beach and the outer channel, the AC37 Joint Recon team assigned to observe Emirates Team New Zealand watched the team practising many tight round-ups and bear-aways in what seemed and was later confirmed to be pre-start manoeuvre practice. Some of the round-ups completed resulted in touchdowns and slowed the boat right down, then rebuilt speed without stopping and popping back on the foils.

Now heading back into the harbour, the team sailed downwind towards the Motuihe Channel, completing some nice flatwater gybes. Sailing a few laps back and forth, completing some fast combination manoeuvres again, they had good control over the boat in the flat water and upper wind range, seemingly working on the limit of single-board round-ups.

Sailing upwind back towards Mechanics Bay, the team came to a controlled stop and started to drop the sails, calling it time for the session.

Recon spoke with Elise Beavis, ETNZ Performance Engineer, and chatted about the data collected and how it compares with their simulation software.

[AC Recon team: Sam Thom and Andrew Burgess]

Crew: Peter Burling, Nathan Outteridge, Andy Maloney, Blair Tuke

Session Statistics: Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 - Day 69 - March 6, 2024 - Auckland

  • Weather: 16-19°C Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 13-18kts
  • Wind Direction: 210°
  • Sea State: 0.2mtr
  • Crane In: 1015hrs Dock Out: 1100hrs
  • Dock In: 1300hrs Crane out: 1330hrs
  • Sailing time: 122 minutes
  • Sailing distance: 45nm
  • Tacks: 24 - Fully foiling: 23; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 9 - Fully foiling: 9; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 1

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 124 - March 6, 2024 - Barcelona

Alinghi Red Bull Racing's AC75, Boat Zero, was rolled out at 0905 hrs and launched by 0930 hrs. The crew gathered on the yacht to carry out standard systems checks. Firefighting training was also carried out on the forecourt.

The AC75, equipped with its largest sail plan - the M1-1R mainsail and J1-2R jib - docked out at 1400hrs, searching offshore for a sufficient breeze. Despite being tow-started into flight, the yacht struggled to maintain foiling in the light wind conditions, which did not exceed 7kts. Several attempts to tow start and maintain flight were made, interspersed with periods where the yacht sailed in displacement mode, with staff members also on board for a joyride, exploring different roles on the boat. The power group also switched positions with the helms and trimmers for a period.

Despite their efforts, only one tack and one gybe were attempted, resulting in touchdowns due to the insufficient wind, and the day concluded with the yacht being towed back to port, where sails were dropped to end the session after 2 hours and 45 minutes on the water.

(Report: Jose Piñana - AC37 Joint Recon team)

Crew - Sailing: Maxime Bachelin, Arnaud Psarofaghis, Nicolas Rolaz, Nico Charbonnier. Power: Nils Teuninck, Thery Schir, Barnabe Delarze, Nico Stahlberg

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 122 - February 29, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 16°C. Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 4-7kts
  • Wind Direction: 160°-185°
  • Sea State: 0.4mtr
  • Crane In: 0930hrs Dock Out: 1400hrs
  • Dock In: 1645hrs Crane out: 1710hrs
  • Total Tacks: 1 Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 1 Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1

INEOS Britannia - AC40-10 - Day 3 - March 6 , 2024 - Barcelona

A lack of breeze in Barcelona prevented the British team from clocking up any meaningful sailing aboard the British AC40 Sienna today.

The boat was set up in one design mode for the two-hour session using the one design M1-1 mainsail and J1-2 headsail.

After launching at 1103 hrs and docking out at 1233 hrs, the boat left the harbour at 1400 hrs and was put straight onto a bow tow in a breeze of sub-6 knots.

After coming off the tow and foiling under its own momentum for a couple of minutes on starboard tack the boat abruptly fell off the foil and stopped. A subsequent tow-up resulted in 8 minutes of flight time, including one foiling tack before the wind faded and the boat dropped gracefully into displacement mode. After that, despite towing for 20 minutes over to the stretch of water adjacent to Barcelona airport, the breeze failed to register more than brief 7kt puffs. Time was called at 1535hrs, with the boat towed back to the harbour for a 1615hrs dock-in. The British team are not expected to sail before next Monday.

Sebastian Peri Brusa – Recon on INEOS Britannia

Crew: Sienna AC-10: Dylan Fletcher, Ben Ainslie, Luke Parkinson, Leigh McMillan

Session Statistics: INEOS Britannia - AC40-10 - Day 3 - March 6, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunny, 16°C.
  • Wind Strength 4kts - 7kts
  • Wind Direction: 180°
  • Sea State: Swell 0.4mtr light chop
  • Crane In: 1100hrs Dock Out: 1330hrs
  • Dock In: 1615hrs Crane out: 1645hrs
  • Total Tacks: 1 - Fully foiling: 1; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 0 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; 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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