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Zhik 2024 March - LEADERBOARD

Cup Spy March 7: Light winds plague training in Barcelona. US back with two AC40s

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 7 Mar 18:13 PST 7 March 2024
American Magic's two AC40s - AC40 - Day 98 - March 7, 2024 - Barcelona © Job Vermeulen / America's Cup

Two teams sailed off Barcelona in light conditions, which provided a valuable albeit frustrating experience. In Auckland, the Kiwis stayed ashore.

What happened in the Cup - March 7, 2024:

  • INEOS Britannia - did not sail, presumably due to the prospect of light winds. They have their AC40 Athena back in action after a lithium battery fire.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing: did not sail, presumably due to the prospect of light winds.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand - did not sail despite having a good breeze of 15-20kts blowing in Auckland.
  • American Magic - the US team had both their AC40s in action today, with the damaged topside repaired on America. Light winds again restricted their practice, however experience in marginal foiling conditions is likely to be a determining factor in the upcoming America's Cup in Barcelona.
  • Orient Express Racing Team - Sailed for the fourth successive day on Thursday. Three times America's Cup winner Glenn Ashby was back on the water with the team - but had to leave to catch a flight. The team also struggled a little in the light, turning in some tack/gybe stats which have room for improvement. But as with American Magic a day in these marginal conditions is probably more valuable than sailing at 40kts plus in optimal foiling conditions.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - The Italian team have retired their LEQ12 test boat, which has served the team well. They have notified an April launch date for their AC75 raceboat.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

American Magic - AC40/LEQ12 x 2 - Day 98 - March 7, 2024 - Barcelona

The American Magic Team was sailing with two boats again today after repairs to America's topside were completed.

They rolled out their two AC40s, Magic and America, at 1045hrs and 1110hrs, respectively. Afterwards, Magic was launched and moored at the dock at 1110 hrs, followed by America at 1130hrs

Magic and America had One Design foils, arms and wing foils on each side.

They both had lidars installed, and America again had the same cameras that we saw the last day she was sailing. They were on the side of the hull, a couple of meters forward from the foil arms (see pictures).

When alongside, sailors and engineers regularly checked to be sure everything was in perfect condition before the sailing session.

At 1300 hrs, they both docked out, towed by the chase boats to a training race area set almost 1nm in front of Port Olimpic.

Sails were hoisted up at that spot. Magic carried the MC-2 mainsail and a JJ-1one design jib, while Americ had the MC-4 for the main and a J1 C-1 for the jib.

There was a very light breeze of 2-4kts from 130º, and the chase boats had to tow the AC40 to start flying. They managed to sail for some minutes before the wind dropped, and we had to wait until 1445hrs until the wind began blowing more consistently at 4-8kts from 150º.

Then followed a 3-hour session with the boats working together on speed testing in a straight line and separately on their foiling technique in marginal foiling conditions.

America had a session of light wind maneuvers and boat handling. They performed ten tacks and 23 gybes (40% touch and go, 60% dry foiling).

After the last gybe, America arrived back at the racing area in front of Port Olympic, where both boats joined again. They stopped to change batteries. Next followed some prestart in a wind that was close to the bottom limit for foiling/racing. They needed tow-ups to foil.

America managed to perform three complete starts, while Magic just managed to get in one. In that one, they had a very nice battle to the line with America.

The observer team felt that Magic had problems with its Foil Control System (which raises and lowers the foil arms) and had to stop. America also made a short stop, and we saw them taking out a long batten from the main sail. They made a batten replacement on that stop.

In the final hour, Magic kept trying to repair their FCS problem and called it a day at 1730hrs.

America kept sailing in those marginal conditions for almost 30 minutes more.

Despite the marginal conditions, keeping both boats sailing together was challenging.

American Magic managed to get a very useful training session with America foiling for 150 minutes. They performed around 45 maneuvers, three prestarts, a low-wind limit takeoff, and quite a lot of sailing testing using different settings on the lower range of wind.

Magic sailed for around 100 minutes and had a useful training exercise despite the issues experienced.

Jose Piñana AC Recon

[Edited and abridged Report from Piñana AC 37 Joint Recon]

Crew: Co-Helms: America: Tom Slingsby / Paul Goodison; Magic: Lucas Calabrese / Harry Melges.

Flight Control Trimmers: America: Andrew Campbell / Michael Menninger; Magic: Severin Gramm / Kyle Langford

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC40/LEQ12 x 2 - Day 98 - March 7, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 14 degrees C - Sunny.
  • Wind Strength: 2kts-8kts
  • Wind Direction: 150 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.5mtrs 125 degrees
  • Crane In: 1110|1130hrs Dock Out: 1300hrs
  • Dock In: 1550|1810hrs Crane out: 1830|1950hrs
  • Total Tacks: 18 (America) 21 (Magic) 80/75% Foiling
  • Total Gybes: 18 (America) 21 (Magic) 80/75% Foiling

Orient Express Racing Team - AC40 - Day 10 - March 7, 2024 - Barcelona

The Orient Express Racing Team (OERT) launched their AC40 to the water at 1050hrs. It had been left with the mast up and out of the shed overnight. The team docked out at 1405hrs, after a one-hour delay due to the lack of wind.

A one-design J1 and the LEQ12-MN-A mainsail were hoisted while heading out of the harbour at 1406hrs and 1418hrs, respectively, and were the only sails used during the day.

A weak southeasterly breeze of 5 to 8kts of intensity prevailed during today's session, combined with flat water conditions.

Once out, a towing takeoff was needed to start the day. For the first half an hour OERT sailed upwind making eight tacks. The aggressive pitch angle flying high on the foils, with the bow down identified yesterday, was also present during most of today's session.

At 1455hrs, OERT stopped, and a technician came onboard to make some adjustments inside the front hatch.

Five minutes later, the training continued, becoming more intense, increasing the number of tacks and reducing the time between one and the next.

As regards their tacking style, a pretty standard step-by-step technique could be identified with nothing "out of the box."

Then, a long downwind was carried out with a particular focus on the gybes, achieving a high fully-foiling percentage. In terms of technique, the variation on the course when bearing away into the gybe seemed very constant and slightly slower than what I am used to seeing, but it was possibly intentional to take advantage of the flat-water conditions to win some downwind VMG.

After the long downwind, at 1605hrs, there was a twenty-minute break during which the batteries were replaced while the sailors and coaches conversed on the chase boat. Then, a short upwind-downwind was carried out with five tacks and six gybes.

By 1650hrs, the wind had got a lot lighter, and the AC40 struggled to take off. Ten minutes later, we were asked to take Glenn Ashby back to the base, as he had to take a flight that same evening.

By 1715hrs, we were back in contact with the AC40 and found OERT heading into the wind. A technician onboard had a tablet in his hand.

In a dying breeze, OERT did one last towing takeoff and simulated a prestart entrance followed by usual prestart routine movements in a virtual box.

At 1745hrs, the team ended the training and returned to the base.

The AC40 entered the harbour at 1755hrs, lowered the sails right in front of the pier, and docked at 1815 hrs. Twenty minutes later, it was craned out of the water.

Sebastian Peri Brusa - Recon on OE Racing Team

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

Session Statistics: Orient Express Racing Team - AC40 - Day 10 - March 7, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 16 degrees C. Mostly sunny
  • Wind Strength 5-7.5kts
  • Wind Direction: 130 degrees - 140 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.4mtr
  • Crane In: 1050hrs Dock Out: 1404hrs
  • Dock In: 1815hrs Crane out: 1835hrs
  • Total Tacks: 43 - Fully foiling: 26; Touch & Go: 6; Touch Down: 11
  • Total Gybes: 35 - Fully foiling: 28; Touch & Go: 4; Touch Down: 3

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, 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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