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Cup Spy March 19-April 2: Teams shift focus as AC75 raceboat launches near

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 2 Apr 04:52 PDT 1 April 2024
Emirates Team New Zealand - AC40 - Day 73 - March 28, 2024 - Auckland © Sam Thom/America's Cup

Two teams sailed over the past fortnight. American Magic sailed once out of Barcelona. Emirates Team New Zealand sailed on three days in AC40s/LEQ12s.

However the Kiwis have sailed on both days in April, believed to be in One Design mode.

Other teams may also be sailing in One Design mode, without being accompanied the AC37 Joint Recon teams

Post Script: The US team American Magic sailed two AC40s on Tuesday off Barcelona, and currently (Wednesday afternoon NZT) Emirates Team NZ are back out with two AC40s, after sailing one in training mode as part of the Womens and Youth AC program. We'll cover both in an update tonight NZT.

What happened in the Cup - March 19-28 2024:

  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing: Have returned to Barcelona after spending a week in Jeddah to conduct sail testing and race practice using AC40 hulls in LEQ12 configuration. They have announced that their AC75 race boat will not be launched before April 5.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand: Sailed for three days mostly in test mode. No launch date advised for their AC75 raceboat. They have sailed on both days in April - apparently without the company of an AC37 Joint Recon team boat, and would appear to be sailing in One-Design mode.
  • American Magic: Sailed for one day out of Barcelona - also in test mode in an AC40. No launch date advised for their AC75 raceboat.
  • Orient Express Racing Team: No AC37 Recon Team report. No launch date advised for their AC75 raceboat.
  • INEOS Britannia: No AC37 Recon Team report. No launch date advised for their AC75 raceboat.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli: No AC37 Recon Team report.. The Italian team have retired their LEQ12 test boat, which has served the team well. They have notified an April 13 launch date for their AC75 raceboat.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 - Day 73 - March 28, 2024 - Auckland

Day 73 for ETNZ sailing LEQ 12 was another day with more two-boat testing. Both LEQ 12 and AC40 OD were out sailing for today's session. Showing no visible changes to the test platform, LEQ 12 and AC40 One Design left the dock at 10:30hrs, heading down the harbour towards North Head. Stopping the tow just north of Bean Rock lighthouse, both boats proceeded to hoist M2 Mains and J3 Jibs, the expected choice for the building westerly wind.

Starting sailing, the teams sailed together down the harbour, heading around Browns Island and towards the "Back Paddock." While sailing downwind together, LEQ 12 was showing a speed advantage compared with the OD 40, at times having to "reset" into a racing position by completing some manoeuvres.

Both boats rounded up just north of Pine Harbour and started tacking upwind, working on racing simulation lineups. The LEQ 12 showed an initial advantage; however, as the crew of the AC40 OD gained some confidence, they started to close the speed gap. Today, the AC40 OD crew consisted of Josh Junior and Sam Meech at the helm, with Gemma Jones and Marcus Hansen in the trimming position.

The Catalyst Chase boat-1 placed a top and bottom gate in the water, and the teams proceeded to start some race simulation laps, getting practice with mark roundings, lay lines, etc. They then sailed another two laps around the course and stopped for a quick drinks break.

Quickly getting back to sailing, the teams went straight into some pre-start and race practice. In the pre-start practice, the teams can be seen working on getting different styles of starts. With LEQ 12 winning a wide right start off the line, with a large rain squall coming from the top gate, both boats bore away early and headed downwind to avoid it. LEQ 12 looked noticeably more in control throughout manoeuvres. Once the rain squall cleared past the course, the team sailed back upwind and completed more starts and races.

During one of the pre-starts, the AC40 OD won a boat start, with LEQ 12 following them off the line. During this race, the OD 40 held its advantage and was first to all the marks by a similar delta to the start. AC37 Recon team (Recon) observed OD 40 in a more controlling position during the racing and sailed to the shifts well to keep their lead despite the speed advantage of the LEQ 12.

While sailing downwind during another race simulation, OD40 capsized out of a gybe. The cause was getting too high on the foils during the manoeuvre. The team jumped to action and righted the sailing boat quickly and safely, and after a few checks over some systems, the AC40 continued sailing without any signs of concern.

After sailing another two laps around the course, both boats stopped for some time. They took some technical support on board to fix what Recon believed to be a technical issue with sailor communication. With a possible fix made, the boats started sailing upwind together back towards the inner harbour and eventually dropped sailing in Mechanics Bay, completing the session for the day.

Recon interviewed Gemma Jones and discussed her time on board and her experience with sailing on the water compared with the simulator.

[AC 37 Joint Recon team: Sam Thom and Andrew Burgess]

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

Session Statistics: Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 - Day 73 - March 28, 2024 - Auckland

  • Weather: 19-22°C Clear skies with Rain Squalls
  • Wind Strength: 15-25kts
  • Wind Direction: 265°
  • Sea State: 0.5 - 1.0mtr
  • Crane In: 0945hrs Dock Out: 1030hrs
  • Dock In: 1430hrs Crane out: 1500hrs
  • Sailing time: 236 minutes
  • Sailing distance: 48.5nm
  • Tacks: No data recorded
  • Total Gybes: No data recorded

American Magic - AC40/LEQ12 - Day 103 - March 27, 2024 - Barcelona

AC40-5 'America' was ready to be craned into the water and moored at the dock by 08:55hrs.

When alongside, sailors and engineers did their regular checks to be sure everything was in perfect condition before the sailing session. AC37 Joint Recon team (Recon) noticed that America had what we had guessed was a new camera or scanner located over the hatch from the bow deck.

It also had lidars and the same cameras as last week.

After a short briefing from all the team members involved in the sailing, the team proceeded with the dock out at 09:50hrs.

At 10:10 hrs, America had already hoisted the MC-3 mainsail and paired it to the J2 C-1 jib. While installing one of the small battens from the bottom of the main sail, the batten fell to the sea, as did the crew doing the task. There was a spare batten on the chase boat, so there were no issues. At that time, the wind was around 4 to 6 kts from 270º close to the harbour.

It looked like more wind was offshore, so the chase boat started towing America. After approximately 1000 m, America had enough wind to sail on her own.

From here, the sailing session was conducted as follows:

Phase 1 (10:30 hrs to 10:45 hrs): They started sailing with a small upwind for a short leg, then they bore away into a downwind, performed two gybes and then after luffed into an upwind and performed three perfect gybes. Wind was about 10-14 kts from 240º.

Phase 2 (10:45 hrs to 11:00 hrs): America kept sailing for two long legs, one in port and one in starboard. She performed several round markings on each leg, from downwind to upwind and opposite. It looks like the chase boat was setting virtual marks for them. They did four round markings per leg.

Phase 3 (11:00hrs to 11:15 hrs): Long upwind with ten tacks. 80% dry foiling, 20% touch and go.

Phase 4 (11:15 hrs to 12:00 hrs): Again, the US team used virtual marks with two long legs, and around 6-7 marks were set for the starboard leg and ten marks for the port side.

The waves were quite big, and going downwind in the increasing wind was extreme for the AC-40.

A leg towards the port took America closer to the harbour, where the swell was smaller and the wind lighter. They continued sailing with an exercise of five series of 360s.

Phase 5 (12:00hrs to 12:15 hrs): The next exercise was to sail downwind, perform two gybes in a row with both arms down, and then continue sailing on the same side from which they had started.

They did three series on the port side and two on the starboard side. The last one was a touch-down gybe.

Phase 6 (12:15 hrs to 12:35 hrs): In this training phase, America also sailed with virtual marks, proceeding to sail at different angles, performing 12 gybes, around two tacks, and some luffing and bearing away manoeuvres.

The wind increased to 16-22kts from 230º.

Phase 7 (12:35 hrs to 12:45 hrs): Sailing back to the base in upwind mode, doing eight tacks and one gybe along the way.

Dock-in was completed at 13:00 hrs.

In summary, America today had active sailing in a big, tricky swell and an increasing wind throughout the sailing session. They stopped for 15-20 minutes, foiled for 115 minutes, and performed numerous manoeuvres of all kinds. American Magic can say they made the most of the session.

Jose Piñana AC Recon

Crew: Co-Helms: Paul Goodison, Lucas Calabrese, Andrew Campbell, Michael Menninger

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC40/LEQ12 - Day 103 - March 27, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 16 °C - Sunny.
  • Wind Strength: 11kts-22kts
  • Wind Direction: 230-240°
  • Sea State: 0.4 - 0.8mtrs 220°
  • Crane In: 0855hrs Dock Out: 0950hrs
  • Dock In: 1300hrs Crane out: 11315hrs
  • Total Tacks: 22 85% Foiling
  • Total Gybes: 34 85% Foiling

Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 - Day 72 - March 26, 2024 - Auckland

Day 72 was a two-boat testing day for ETNZ, with both the OD AC40 and LEQ 12 out sailing today. After a slight delay while waiting for a few rain squalls to pass, the team finally docked out one hour behind schedule at 1200hrs and headed towards the water on the south side of Waiheke Island. The LEQ 12 Stopped in Mechanics Bay and hoisted the M2 and J3 while the AC40 stayed on the tow, eventually hoisting it in the "Back Paddock." [2021 AC - Course E]

The crew of the AC40 had a few Youth and Women's America's Cup sailors onboard today. They displayed impressive skills in the upper range of conditions and showed good control over the yacht. Both boats set out sailing together, working on some tight-tacking manoeuvres and speed testing against each other. The LEQ12 showed a speed advantage, which is to be expected. Today's Women and Youth sailors included Leo Takahashi, Liv Mackay, Oscar Gunn, and Gemma Jones.

They were assisted in sailing the AC40 by Josh Junior (driver), Sam Meech (Flight Controller) and Marcus Hansen (Flight Controller)

After completing a couple of windward-leeward laps, the AC40 OD stopped and looked to have a jib sheet issue. The team spent roughly ten minutes fixing the issue.

During this time, the OD 40 Chase boat experienced engine troubles, and for ongoing safety reasons, the recon driver was asked to swap into that chase boat so the team could continue to perform with a safety chase boat.

After sailing, the recon unit spoke with ETNZ sailing coach Ray Davies, who told us how the day went and the overall plan for the upcoming sailing block.

[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 72 - March 26, 2024 - Auckland

  • Weather: 18-23°C Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 18kts Gusty
  • Wind Direction: 180°
  • Sea State: 0.5mtr
  • Crane In: 0955hrs Dock Out: 1200hrs
  • Dock In: 1530hrs Crane out: 1600hrs
  • Sailing time: 160 minutes
  • Sailing distance: 53nm
  • Tacks: Not recorded
  • Total Gybes: Not recorded

Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 - Day 71 - March 19, 2024 - Auckland

Day 71 for ETNZ sailing their LEQ 12 on the Auckland harbour.

The team opted for an early session today as the Southerly breeze was building. Splashing the boat at 0930 hrs, they ran through a quick pre-sailing check and rigging protocol and headed out on the water at 1000 hrs.

Hoisting the sails in Mechanics Bay, the team chose the M2 and J3 [Mainsail and Jib] combination, which was the expected choice for the conditions. The team hopped onto the foils and sailed towards Rangitoto Lighthouse through the northern harbour channel [2021 AC - Course B].

Chase 1 laid a pin marker and used an existing marker as the boat end to set up a start line in the now-built Southerly. The team started working on race-course drills in very shifty and gusty conditions. Completing practice starts working on both port and starboard entries. They would complete a windward-leeward course after each start.

The team stopped for a drinks break just after 1100 and set into some more course practice. However, this time, ETNZ Chase 1 was acting at the other sailing yacht over the course. Recon observed the team working on timings on Lee's bow and covering tacks and gybes.

Chase 1 also worked on playing the leeward boat for a pre-start, acting as a tight leeward boat sailing off the start line while LEQ 12 worked on holding its lane. After completing another two laps, the marks were pulled up, and the team called it a day.

AC37 Joint Recon Team interviewed Peter Burling after sailing to discuss the crossover between testing for the engineers and practice for the sailors.

[AC37 Joint Recon team: Sam Thom and Andrew Burgess]

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

Session Statistics: Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 - Day 71 - March 19, 2024 - Auckland

  • Weather: 13-19° Clear
  • Wind Strength: 12-17kts Very gusty
  • Wind Direction: 180°
  • Sea State: 0.5mtr
  • Crane In: 0920hrs Dock Out: 1000hrs
  • Dock In: 1230hrs Crane out: 1250hrs
  • Sailing time: 160 minutes
  • Sailing distance: 53nm
  • Tacks: 33 - Fully foiling: 33; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 24 - Fully foiling: 24; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

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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