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Cup Spy May 8: Three teams sail AC75s off Barcelona on Wednesday

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 9 May 07:22 PDT 9 May 2024
INEOS Britannia crosses ahead of Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - May 8, 2024 - Barcelona © Job Vermeulen / America's Cup

Three teams sailed AC75s off Barcelona on Wednesday, the first opportunity for the teams to tangle, and have the inevitable accidental hookup as the Challengers sized up their opposition for the first time.

What happened in the Cup - May 8, 2024:

  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing: Sailed today out of Barcelona.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand: Stopped sailing on May 1. Is now backing their AC75 for Barcelona - expected to resume sailing in early July.
  • American Magic: Launched their AC75 on May 7, and today sailed for the just the second day
  • Orient Express Racing Team: No AC37 Recon Team report. A launch date has yet to be publicly advised for their AC75 raceboat.
  • INEOS Britannia: Sailed their AC75 raceboat for the second successive day off Barcelona
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli: Have launched and sailed their AC75 raceboat for the third day, off the base in Sardinia, before they make the move to Barcelona, where they have not previously sailed, aside from some session in their AC40 ahead of the Preliminary Regattas.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 13 - May 8, 2024 - Barcelona

ARBR rolled out their AC75 at 10:00hrs and craned it to the water at 10:25hrs. The team docked out at 12:00hrs as planned, after usual routine activities.

The M1-1 was selected for today's session, combined with the J2-1. Both sails were hoisted just before heading out of the port.

Light-medium winds from the South prevailed during the day, combined with flat-water conditions.

The training started at 12:30hrs with a downwind-upwind warm up. Then there was a ten-minute break in which some of the team's technicians got onboard, even though nothing seemed out of order.

At 13:00hrs the session continued with a four-lap upwind-downwind virtual course, practicing two maneuvers in particular: Gybing immediately after rounding the top mark, and tacking right after rounding the leeward gates.

These maneuvers were repeated on all mark roundings, achieving a 100% foiling effectiveness, altering port and starboard roundings.

At 13:25hrs there was a fifteen-minute break in which the J3-3L with narrow top and middle sections came up to replace the J2-1, in slightly stronger wind conditions.

During the following hour, ARBR practiced bear-aways and luff ups, zigzagging from upwind closed hauled course into downwind VMG course, back and forth, multiple times in both tacks.

No difficulties were identified, foiling consistently all the time with a good coordination of sails trimming, boat balance and turning speed.

At 14:25hrs there was a full cyclors rotation. The net cycling time of the first shift was sixty-five minutes. Ten minutes after, the session resumed.

A long upwind was carried out on starboard tack sailing on a straight line. Then after doing a tack, there was a sudden stop. Some of the shore-team members got onboard and it appeared to be like they were dealing with some kind of issues. However, after dealing with it for fifteen minutes it was sorted, and sailing resumed with a long downwind leg on port tack. Once close to the harbor, some additional zigzagging was executed.

By 15:55hrs ARBR was back at the race-course area and a short break occurred.

To end the session, at 16:15hrs one pre-start was delivered entering the box on port tack and doing two laps around an upwind-downwind racecourse using marks. Fully foiling maneuvers were executed during the starting sequence.

ARBR entered the harbor on the tow with no sails and docked at 17:00hrs. Thirty-five minutes later, it got craned out of the water.

A great day focused on the maneuvers for the Swiss Team.

[Sebastian Peri Brusa - Recon on ARBR]

Sailing Crew: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin, Nicolas Charbonnier, Bryan Mettraux

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 13 - May 8, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 22 degrees. Sunny
  • Wind Strength 10-14kts
  • Wind Direction: 180 degrees - 200 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.43mtrs
  • Crane In: 1025hrs Dock Out: 1200hrs
  • Dock In: 1700hrs Crane out: 1735hrs
  • Takeoff Angle TWA: degrees Speed: kts
  • Total Tacks: 19 - Fully foiling: 17; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 16 - Fully foiling: 14; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 0

American Magic - AC75 - Day 2 - May 8, 2024 - Barcelona

American Magic rolled out Patriot at 08:55hrs for their second day on the water, with the focus on further commissioning and "proper sailing", according to skipper Tom Slingsby. The yacht was craned in at 09:25hrs, with control system setup (no physical testing observed) carried out until dockout at 11:30hrs.

The MN2-1 mainsail and J2-1 jib were hoisted under the breakwater, before commencing sailing at 12:20hrs. The team spent six hours on the water, of which 160 minutes were spent sailing, divided into eight stints. With an average wind speed of 10-12 knots and a relatively flat sea state, the team started with short upwinds and downwinds, stopping every so often to check systems. A crew member was observed sitting on the starboard foil arm, looking to be adding a temporary repair to the leading edge of the foil, which presumably was lightly damaged by one of the many pieces of driftwood on the water following the rain storm from the previous day.

After a long downwind to Badalona, the J2 jib was exchanged at 13:30hrs for the J4-1 as windspeeds increased, with gusts measured up to 15 knots. The team got into drilling tacks and gybes, as well as a few bare-aways and round-ups, before sailing what seemed like laps of a virtual windward/leeward course. Fairly significant vibration of the leeward shrouds was observed during the higher wind speeds, with a sailor getting out of the pod to inspect while foiling.

By 16:00hrs, winds decreased below 10kts. The team kept the J4 jib, as foiling consistency dropped through manoeuvres, specifically gybes. The sailors reacted with significantly higher ride height through the gybes to complete the manoeuvres foil to foil, but an attempt at a JK manoeuvre was unsuccessful. Still with the J4, Patriot was able to lift off in about 7-8kts of wind, before returning back to the port entrance to end the day. Sails were dropped at 17:20kts and the team docked in at 17:30kts.

63 manoeuvres were observed, of which 81% were fully foiling.

[Report by Justin Busuttil - AC37 Joint Recon Team]

Crew: Co-Helms: Tom Slingsby, Paul Goodison, Michael Menninger, Andrew Campbell

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC75 - Day 2 - May 8, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 20 degreesC - Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 9kts-15kts
  • Wind Direction: 180 degrees-205 degrees (E-S)
  • Sea State: 0.4 - 0.6mtrs 180 degrees (S)
  • Dock Out: 1130hrs
  • Dock In: 1735hrs
  • Takeoff Angle TWA: 060 degrees Speed: 18kts
  • Total Tacks: 32 Fully Foiling: 29; Touch and Go: 2; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 31 Fully Foiling: 22; Touch and Go: 8; Touch Down: 1

INEOS Britannia - AC75 - Day 8 - May 8, 2024 - Barcelona

Team INEOS Britannia rolled out RB3 at 8:30hrs today with the same rudder from yesterday. After receiving this morning the latest component declaration from the team, we could confirm that it's a legacy rudder.

Crane in was done at 9:00hrs and after some regular checks and maintenances on the different aero and flight control systems, dock out was done at 11:15hrs.

Main sail MN1 was hoisted and paired to a J2 jib at the entrance of the harbour. Only 5 - 7kts winds from 180º were blowing when RB3 started to sail out from the harbour, but there were clearly good enough so she could start taking off in her own.

When they started foiling, they went sailing in a straight downwind to 'El Forum' and from there they luffed into a very active upwind mode performing many tacks. The first ones were done in the very low range of winds and we could see them lifting the boat up in height before starting the manoeuvre but after tacking they were losing the foiling by the end of the manoeuvre. From the third tack we think they tried the following pattern: start bearing away a little bit to win speed, increase height and then turn faster to drive all the inertia to the exit of the manoeuvre to avoid losing the foiling. It was looking great and as the wind increased, they need to give less height to RB3 before starting the tack.

When gybing today an improvement was done from yesterday specially in starboard to port side gybes, when sometimes the boat was heeling to windward when lifting the windward arm at the exit of the manoeuvre. Today none of the gybes were 'touch down' and plenty were fully foiling. We can be wrong, but we think that here the speed on the turn was also the key so when entering in the gybe with a faster turn the boat was getting a bit of heel to leeward in the new gybe, what helped the boat didn't fall to windward at the exit of the manoeuvre when the windward foil arm was lifted. As well we think, but we are not sure, that the canting angle from the leeward arm of the new gybe is reduced when entering the gybe and after the exit of the manoeuvre is moved to the right canting angle for the downwind course.

When sailing in straight lines even up wind or downwind the height was more stable compared to yesterday. From one side INEOS Britannia was not trying that much different height modes of sailing like did yesterday and from other side we think that maybe the mainsail MN-1 used today was helping to give better directional stability to RB3. As well to remark that specially in the upwind we had the feeling to see the trimmers more active with the main sheet.

Jib J2 was sailed for one hour and at 13:00hrs was replaced by the J3. After the replacement INEOS Britannia wanted to test the boat reaching. First in starboard and after in port tack. The wind was about 10-12kts from 190º and we guess the boat could score speeds of around 45kts when sailing in port side. When reaching in starboard the nose went a bit into the sea surface and produced some spray all around the hull but for our surprise the boat got back into it's flying position smoothly and without almost losing speed.

We could see also today RB3 testing rounding virtual/imaginary marks from downwind to upwind in port side with both arms down and other time with the windward arm up.

Two cyclist swaps (4x4) were done today at 13:00hrs and an hour later at 14:00hrs (batteries were also changed). It looks that the team is trying that all cyclors try the different positions they may have on board (port, stbd, fwd, aft).

A total of around 27 tacks (2 touch down, 16 fully foiling, 9 touch down) and 25 gybes (20 fully foiling, 5 touch down) were done.

Dock in was done at 16:25hrs for INEOS Britannia team.

Crew - Sailing: Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott, Bleddyn Mon, Leigh McMillan
Crew - Power:Freddie Carr, Luke Parkinson, Matt Gotrel, Harry Leask

[From: AC37 Joint Recon Team: Jose Luis Piñana - AC Recon]

INEOS Britannia - AC75 - Day 8 - May 8, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 21 degrees Clear sunny
  • Wind Strength: 5-13kts
  • Wind Direction: 180 degrees-200 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.5 - 0.8mtrs from 176 degrees
  • Crane In: 0900hrs Dock Out: 1115hrs
  • Dock In: 1625hrs Crane out: 1715hrs
  • Takeoff Angle TWA: 085 degrees Speed: 16kts
  • Total Tacks: 27 Fully Foiling: 16 Touch & Go: 9 Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 25 Fully Foiling: 20 Touch & Go: 5 Touch Down: 0

Luna Rossa - AC75 - Day 11 - May 8, 2024 - Cagliari

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) rolled out their AC75 at 11:50hrs, and proceeded with mast and cables stepping procedure and crane in.

The team docked out at 13:40hrs finding flat waters and 8-10kts from 285 degrees at first. Several rain systems were to be seen around the gulf which led to pressure changes in strength and direction. Once up and foiling on port tack flying M1-7 + J2-7, the yacht completed the usual training routine beginning with some tacks, bearing away and executing one gybe and mostly straightlining downwind before trimming up on two boards and stopping.

Already on the first tack, the westerly breeze had shifted to 9-11kts from 195 degrees. After a short break with technicians on board, the yacht self took off on starboard tack and sailed a long downwind run straightline on before a JK initiated a longer upwind run on port tack. The yacht seemed to struggle slightly more to self take off on the legacy wing with take off speeds of 17-19kts rather than 15-17kts on the new wing.

By 14:40hrs, the breeze had increased with 12-14kts from 190 degrees and hence the J2-7 was lowered to hoist the J3-7.

At 14:58hrs, B3 self took off again on starboard tack, proceeding with straightline sailing on both tacks sailing the usual training pattern. Physical gates were then setup and B3 started cruising around marks; a first start was practiced with time on distance killing 2 minutes in a rather large box.

At 15:40hrs, the breeze had shifted further to 165 degrees with 9-11kts and one helm, one trimmer and both aft pods sailors were swapped after 65 minutes foilborne. Another steady self take off was observed on port tack just as the breeze was shifting further to the right, now from 175 degrees 10-12kts, while the team practiced another timed start.

On the last upwind leg, the breeze seemed to be decreasing again to 7-9kts and shifting to 135 degrees: the J3-7 was lowered to rehoist the J2-7.

One more self take off on port tack led B3 to its last foiling stint in which the team practiced a series of final gybes before trimming back up to stop in 12-14kts from 125 degrees.

Several technicians were noticed to be working below hatches for a speculative issue and sails were lowered as the pressure was increasing even further with rain systems getting closer. The LRPP called it a day after approx 112 minutes foilborne; 31 tacks and 35 gybes were executed mostly foil to foil.

Crew - Sailing:Checco Bruni (port), Jimmy Spithill (stb) (swapped with Marco Gradoni); Andrea Tesei(stb) (swapped with Vittorio Bissaro), Umberto Molineris (port)
Crew - Power: Bruno Rosetti(stb fwd) Enrico Voltolini(port fwd), Cesare Gabbia(port aft), Luca Kirwan (stb aft) (Rosetti swapped with Gabbia and Romano with Kirwan)

From: [Michele Melis AC Recon AC37 Joint Recon Team]

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa - AC75 - Day 11 - May 8, 2024 - Cagliari

  • Weather: 22 degrees Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 6-12kts
  • Wind Direction: 160 degrees - 170 degrees
  • Sea State: Flat
  • Crane In: 1225hrs Dock Out: 1340hrs
  • Dock In: 1615hrs Crane out:
  • Takeoff Angle TWA: 080-090 degrees Speed: 14-16kts
  • Total Tacks: 31 Fully Foiling: 28 Touch & Go: 3 Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 35 Fully Foiling: 31 Touch & Go: 4 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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