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Cup Spy April 23: Swiss gain confidence in new AC75 as breeze deserts Kiwis

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 24 Apr 07:46 PDT 25 April 2024
Alinghi Red Bull Racing- AC75 - Day 5 - April 23, 2024 - Barcelona © Ugo Fonolla / America's Cup

Three America's Cup teams sailed - two in new AC75s and the third two-boat testing/trialling in AC40s.

What happened in the Cup - April 23, 2024:

  • INEOS Britannia - continued with set up on their new AC75 in Barcelona. This was their third day in this process. No report was filed today by the AC37 Joint Recon team, and presumably, the AC75 did not leave the boat shed.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing - had another light - medium air sailing session off Barcelona on their new AC75.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand - had the opposite conditions to Monday - with a light breeze that was stronger in the Hauraki Gulf than in the harbour. However, even so, the team could not find enough pressure to conduct serious testing. They are expected to keep sailing until early May, resuming in Barcelona in early July.
  • American Magic - sailed paired AC40s again, in keenly contested match racing. Their AC75 is one of two AC75s yet to be revealed. It arrived at the base on March 26 and will be launched in early-mid-May.
  • Orient Express Racing Team - Their AC75 is the other yet to be revealed. It is to an Emirates Team NZ design.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - No report was filed today by the AC37 Joint Recon team, and presumably, the AC75 did not leave the boat shed.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75- B2 - Day 5 - April 23, 2024 - Barcelona

Alinghi Red Bull Racing had a valuable training day aboard their new AC75 in Barcelona. They sailed in choppy seas and winds ranging from 7 to 15 knots.

The boat was rolled out of the shed at 0930 hrs to be rigged and launched by 1000 hrs. The dock out was at 1200 hrs, after which the M1-1 mainsail and J3-1 headsail were hoisted by 1220 hrs.

Pre-sailing checks/setup took a further 50 minutes before the boat exited the harbour on a bow tow at 1300hrs.

After a 10-minute displacement tow, the AC75 set off on its own a few minutes later and was soon foil-borne on starboard tack in 12 knots of breeze.

They foiled for a two-minute flight before a touchdown tack to port, followed by a quick takeoff on a 15-minute flight. Seven more flights followed, each comprising some upwind and downwind sailing. As the breeze built later in the day, the manoeuvres and takeoffs became smoother as the J3 headsail entered its correct wind band.

The final session was a long upwind from near Badalona back to the harbour with multiple foiling tacks. During the day, upwind sailing speeds were estimated to be in the low 30-knot range, with downwind speeds touching the high thirties. Time was called at 1615 hrs, and the boat was back on the dock at 1700 hrs. Another day of sailing is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, April 23.

Crew:Sailing: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin, Nico Charbonnier, Nico Rolez, Bryan Mettraux. Power: Théry Schir, Florian Trub, Neils Theuninck

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75- B2 - Day 5 - April 23, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 13-15 degrees. Scattered cloud
  • Wind Strength 7-15kts
  • Wind Direction: 160 degrees - 180 degrees
  • Sea State: Moderate steep chop
  • Crane In: 1000hrs Dock Out: 1200hrs
  • Dock In: 1700hrs Crane out: 1745hrs
  • Total Tacks: 13 - Fully foiling: 8; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 4
  • Total Gybes: 19 - Fully foiling: 13; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 5

Emirates Team New Zealand - AC75 - Day 7 - April 22, 2024 - Auckland

Day 8 of sailing Taihoro AC75 with ETNZ was the opposite of yesterday's fresh to strong winds. Splashing the boat at 1100, the team kicked into the now-standard rigging protocol and worked through more systems checks before docking out at 1200hrs, heading down the harbour and out the Rangitoto Channel.

Coming off the tow to the east of Narrow Neck Beach, at the beginning of Course A of the 2021 America's Cup, the team hoisted sails M2 main and J1. In a very light, sometimes non-existent Northerly breeze, the team towed onto the foils with the sails up, heading out into the inner Hauraki Gulf, hoping to find enough wind to sail. Dropping the tow and sheeting on, the team sailed for approximately 400m before falling back off the foils. This process repeated four more cycles until the AC75 had sailed quite a distance upwind, finishing just south of Tiritiri Matangi Island - at the outer end of Course A.

With a little breeze starting to build, the team managed to get sailing for roughly 20 minutes. They could be seen spending time looking over sails and taking photos from onboard of the sails. In the little breeze that was holding, the team managed to perform three touch-and-go tacks before disappearing and eventually coming off the foils naturally as the breeze died again. 

For the remainder of the sailing session, the team started towing back into the harbour, occasionally sheeting on and dropping the tow. However, this was only for a few hundred meters before falling off the foils again. They returned to the dock at 1530hrs. 

Recon interviewed Elise Beavis, ETNZ performance engineer, to review the day and the commissioning process of the new AC75.

From: AC37 Joint Recon Team - Sam Thom and Connor Mashlan

Session Statistics: Emirates Team New Zealand - AC75 - Boat 3 - Day 8 - April 23, 2024 - Auckland

  • Weather: 17-22 degrees clear skies
  • Wind Strength: 4-6kts
  • Wind Direction: 010 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.1mtrs
  • Crane In: 1100hrs Dock Out: 1200hrshrs
  • Dock In: 1515hrs Crane out: 1540hrs

American Magic - AC40/LEQ12 - Day 114 - April 23, 2024 - Barcelona

AC40-8 'Magic' was craned in at 10:20hrs, and AC40-5' America' was 30 minutes later.

Riley Gibbs helming in the port side from Magic AC-40, and Severin Gramm (alias "Fingers") was trimmer in the starboard side after recovering from a significant hand injury (he got a new nickname in the team since that injury).

After a short briefing from all the team involved in the sailing session, they proceeded with the dock out at noon. Ten minutes later, they started hoisting their mainsails: MC-4 for America and MC-2 for Magic. They paired them with a J1 custom jib for America and a J1 one-design jib for Magic.

There was no wind blowing after hoisting the sails, so the team waited at the harbour entrance until 12:25hrs, when an SE wind seemed to be blowing about a mile away in the NE direction. Chase boats towed the AC40, and at about 12:35hrs, both boats started sailing. A nice swell came from a 138 º direction and 4 to 7 kts from 100º. From here, the sailing session progressed as explained in the following phases:

Phase 1 (55 mins): 4-7 kn from 100º. Both boats started sailing together, sailing upwind in a very long starboard tack. After the first tack, Magic lost foiling, and America kept sailing on her own. She continued sailing for two very long tacks more, and after the last tack, she bore away into a downwind course and sailed to meet Magic, who was not foiling yet. When they met, both foiled together to the starting line, which was set again by the team in front of Port Olympic. When they arrived at the starting line, they performed some prestart manoeuvres. We believe they were also referencing the size of the box set by the team.

To highlight a kind of light wind gybe that we saw practising America: before entering the gybe, they were winning a bit of high, then canting a bit the leeward arm in and heeling the boat a bit to leeward in the moment of starting the gybe (to check video).

Phase 2 (70 mins): 6-8 kts wind from 160º. Five prestarts were done in this stint. In all of them, Magic was getting into the box before America at the prestart.

Magic took the pin position at the first start, and America started just windward from Magic. After two tacks, they came back to the starting line.

In the second start, America was taking the pin, and Magic started very close windward to America. They raced in an upwind/downwind racecourse. Six tacks were done when going upwind and four gybes when going downwind. In the upwind, they were close to each other, but in the downwind, America managed to put some extra distance in between.

America won the third start, as Magic failed a manoeuvre and lost the foiling before staring. Exactly the opposite happened at the start of number four, in which Magic won.

In start number five, Magic won the start, crossing the line in portside with America just behind, in her wind shadow, which caused her to fall off the foils.

The wind shifted to the right, and the upwind course was changed to 190º.

Phase 3 (1hr 50 mins): 8-11 kts from 180º. The wind shifted and increased slightly over the session. Both boats changed batteries, swapped jibs from J1 to J2, and had lunch, so it wasn't until 15:25 hrs that they continued with the next start. Also, America seemed to have some trouble with the jib and had to drop it and hoist it again before the next start.

Three prestarts were done in this phase. In all of them, America got into the box before Magic at the prestart.

Magic won the pin in the first one, but America started very close windward to Magic. The upwind mark was set at 190º, but the team set a virtual mark at a 210º course after the wind shifted. They both sailed in an upwind battle of 7 tacks; America was taking the upwind mark first and took a bit more distance in the downwind. At the bottom mark rounding, she came off her foils and allowed Magic to catch up. They continued for one lap more, and it's amazing how America was crossing the line just one meter before Magic. They had a great battle. When finished, America needed to drop and hoist the jib once more.

In starts 2 and 3, very aggressive fights were seen in the last 30 to 40 seconds of sailing to the line. After start 2, America failed in a tack when tacking. It seemed like they were late dropping the windward arm, so the hull touched the water and lost the foiling.

In start 3, an aggressive move from America to take the leeward position to Magic in the last second was highlighted. A frenetic race continued with two upwind legs and one downwind leg completed, finishing with the last upwind leg at the entrance of the harbour. It was won by America.

Dock-in was done at 16:50hrs for the American Magic team.

In summary, Magic and America have foiled around 160 minutes. They performed speed testing, around 60 tacks and 47 gybes each, completing eight prestarts and three upwind/downwind course races.

Jose Piñana AC Recon

Crew: Co-Helms: America: Paul Goodison, Tom Slingsby, Magic: Lucas Calabrese, Riley Gibbs

Trimmers America: Andrew Campbell, Michael Menninger; Magic: Severin Gramm, Kyle Langford.

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC40/LEQ12 - Day 114 - April 23, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 14 degreesC - Sunny.
  • Wind Strength: 4kts-13kts
  • Wind Direction: 100 degrees -210 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.75 - 1.16mtrs 138 degrees
  • Dock Out: 1200hrs
  • Dock In: 1650hrs
  • Total Tacks: 60 each - 85% dry foiling
  • Total Gybes: 47 each - 85% dry foiling

Additional Images:

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