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Cup Spy May 10: Arrivederci, Cagliari. Italians head for Barcelona

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 11 May 06:56 PDT 9 May 2024
A very grunted up Luna Rossa begins foiling - AC75 - Day 13 - May 10, 2024 - Cagliari © Ivo Rovira / America's Cup

Three teams sailed AC75s off Barcelona on Friday, along with Luna Rossa sailing out of Cagliari Sardinia. It was the last sailing day in Cagliari before the Italians move to the base in Barcelona, and begin their workup towards being the Challenger for the third time and achieving their first America's Cup win.

Take-off speeds and apparent wind angles take on a particular interest now that three and a half teams are sailing with wing foils to Version 2 of the AC75 class rule. We have started incorporating these estimates as reported by the AC37 Joint Recon Teams. Over the next few days we may be able to tell if in fact there has been a reduction in minimum takeoff speed, which - along with an 800kg weight reduction - was the objective of new rule.

What happened in the Cup - May 10, 2024:

  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli launched and sailed their AC75 raceboat for the fourth day, this week off the base in Sardinia. Again they sailed with a lighter, wider and deeper 2024 AC75 Class Rule foil, on the one side with a a legacy 2021 anhedral foil on the other. Today was their last sail in Cagliari, and they are now moving to Barcelona, where they have not previously sailed, aside from some session in their AC40 ahead of the Preliminary Regattas.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailed today out of Barcelona. Dean Barker is back with the team in a coaching capacity - working in conjunction former Luna Rossa mainsail trimmer Pietro_Sibello.
  • American Magic launched their AC75 on May 7, and today sailed for the third day this week. Despite losing several months at the start of the campaign, they have caught and passed some of the earlier entered teams. The US team had a crack in the junction of their foil arm and wing foil on the port side, attempts to apply adhesive tape during the session failed, and the session was cut short. As Patriot was hauled, water poured from the joint for a few minutes. Clearly some of the shore crew will be on overtime over the weekend. That issue aside skipper Paul Goodison said they were testing for foil ventilation today.
  • INEOS Britannia sailed their AC75 raceboat today for the third day this week off Barcelona.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand stopped sailing on May 1. Is now backing their AC75 for Barcelona - expected to resume sailing in early July. They have started a race training block for their AC75 and Youth and Womens crews in a pair of AC40s/
  • Orient Express Racing Team: No AC37 Recon Team report. However they were sailing their A40 in One Design mode and getting a look at the other teams. A launch date has yet to be publicly advised for their AC75 raceboat.

Commentary: Sirena wary of the temptations of Barcelona's night-life

Since the launch of the Version 2 AC75s there has been plenty of speculation and interest in how the new wingfoil rules work out in reality, and their impact on boat performance.

The obvious areas of change from the AC75s used in the 2021 America's Cup are a total weight reduction of just under 800kg, wider and probably slimmer foils. Foils can also be altered with flap changes.

The Version 2 foils on American Magic are slightly different.

"The two foils are very similar," explained American Magic skipper and 2008 Olympic Gold medalist, Paul Goodison, after today's sailing session. "They have their own little intricacies that we were just trying to figure out, and see if the [software] tools are showing us the same differences we're showing on the water. So today we were just experimenting a little bit and and looking at things in more detail."

"We had fantastic weather forecast today. So our plan was to get out early and try and meet the building breeze which we managed to do. The breeze came up nicely throughout the afternoon, and we got a little bit of sailing in."

"Unfortunately it was a little bit stop-start. We had a few issues with the port foil. We tried to do a bit of a botched job on the water to repair it, which held for a little while and then came off."

"We were at the end of the day, and figured it wasn't worth the risk of doing any more damage to the boat. And so we called time a little bit earlier, unfortunately."

Dean Barker, who is now on his sixth America's Cup campaign is back working with the Swiss Alinghi Red Bull Racing team, in a co-coaching role on the AC75 sailing, working with coach Pietro Sibello, a twice Italian Olympic representative in the 49er skiff, and former mainsail trimmer with Luna Rossa in the 2021 America's Cup.

"Dean is nice to have all the time, because he has such a great experience and knowledge," Sibello explained. "At the moment, we are working together on what we are currently trying. "But in the future he will be more focused on racing and match racing."

INEOS Britannia has a couple of key focus areas at this early stage of their AC75 work-up, after not sailing an AC75 for over three years.

Double Olympic Gold medalist in the Finn class, and SailGP helmsman, Giles Scott was pleased with the progress made by INEOS Britannia today - after a rocky few years in AC40 training and with their LEQ12 test boat 'T6'.

"It was a amazing day, with a lot of our competitors out there as well," he reflected after the session. "The Garbi Seabreeze kicked in with beautifully flat water. It was blowing a nice 10 to 14kts all day - perfect for these yachts. Really, really perfect.

"Our focus was really a continuation of the workup had, after a little little delay, [put down to a software gremlin fixed with a system reboot]. Initially, we had a solid session with with laps, and just trying to dial in the straight lines, as well as working on some maneuvering techniques. And we had some cameras on the foils, too. That was really the focus of the day."

Sail design is a significant challenge for the British, and all the teams. Even those who retained their Version 1 AC75s (American Magic, Emirates TNZ and Alinghi RBR), were only permitted to use legacy sails from the 2021 America's Cup. While some did test new sail designs on their LEQ12 test boats - whether they were AC40s or specialist 40fters, the big question is how all that crosses over into much bigger and more powerful AC75s.

"The sail design has been going ever since the T6 program started," Scott says. "We did one LEQ12 jib with the with the AC40 as well."

"This is obviously our first go at AC37 full size sail package. We've got the M-1 and M-2 mainsails. There's a lot of scope with the mains in terms of area," he noted. "As you're seeing with a lot of the other teams, I'm sure everyone will have different area mainsails to work through."

For most teams sail development will continue right to the end of their campaigns.

Luna Rossa Team Director Max Sirena was in an ebullient mood as the team celebrated the end of the Cagliari based phase of their 2024 Cup campaign.

"I think it was a really good day to close the campaign here in Sardinia," he said. "I think we are happy, so far, with with the results we have found on the water. We still have quite a lot to go, but we are looking forward to going to Barcelona, and start sailing on the racing course together with the other guys."

Asked how the Italian team felt having seen the other new AC75s, man-mountain Gilberto Nobilio, a grinder, systems engineer, and now Operations Director, who is on his seventh America's Cup campaign having sailed with three teams, replied: "We are happy we are. Obviously there are some points of interest. But so far there is nothing shocking. There is nothing that you say 'well we didn't talk about that'."

"Obviously the boats are a compromise of everything. You need to push in all directions, and that is what we have done.

"On the new wing foil "we are quite happy with the first one. We still have two to play with. We just need to go sailing and see what numbers are saying on the water - because that is what is counting."

The move from Cagliari to Barcelona is not without its challenges. "The first thing to do is to try to keep the guys under the bed - because I'm really worried about the nightlife in Barcelona!" Sirena quipped.

"But we're looking forward putting the second wingfoil on the boat and start sailing in a more active racing mode. But like all the other teams, we will have a lot to develop, and I think that's gonna happen until the last race day.

"I think the difference will come from attention to small details - so we need to make sure we are covering all the aspects to make sure we are race ready for Day 1."

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

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

For their last sailing day in Cagliari before moving to Barcelona, LRPP team rolled out their B3 at 11:50hrs. While docking out at 13:30hrs, the main M1-7 was hoisted with the J1.5-7 jib as the breeze was measured 7-9kn from 190° with flat seastate.

Up foilborne by self take off on port tack, B3 headed for a long straightline upwind run. As the yacht sailed in an area with less breeze, approximately 6-8kts, a significant numbers of upwind manouvers were practiced on both tacks with improved foil to foil rate compared to the day before. While practicing starboard arm drops it noticed how the traveller moved to port with decreasing spanner flattening the main.

As the breeze dropped further to 4-6kts, the J1.5 was lowered to hoist the J1-7 and one impressive self take off was then observed on port tack with take off speed of 15-16kn in the lightest air seen so far, below racing range. As the breeze died completely, B3 was towed back towards the city and released to sail downwind on starboard tack.

A series of gybes was then executed before the chaseboats setup a gate on 175° with 7-9ktsfor start practice.

Gybes looked more consistent compared to previous day but conditions offered an average of 1.5kts more. As the yacht hove to, batteries were changed and crew rotations were arranged for starboard helm, starboard trimmer and both aft pods cyclors.

At 16:30hrs, the breeze had increased further to 8-10kts while the team spent a significant amount of time below deck. At 16:35hrs the yacht was up foilborne again and practiced a timed start followed by an upwind and a downwind leg which saw the chaseboat engaging with B3.

The downwind leg was then extended all the way towards the harbour where the yacht sailed in increased pressure, about 11kts and shifted to the left, allowing a last straightline run before trimming up to slow down and stop. The day was called with approximately 86 minutes foilborne, 42 tacks and 37 gybes .

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

Sailing Crew: Marco Gradoni (port), Jimmy Spithill (stb) (Checco Bruni swapped with Marco Gradoni); Vittorio Bissaro(stb) , Umberto Molineris (port) (swapped with Andrea Tesei )

Power crew: Bruno Rosetti(stb fwd) Enrico Voltolini(port fwd), Cesare Gabbia(port aft), Luca Kirwan (stb aft) (these last two swapped with Paolo Simion and Mattia Camboni)

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa - AC75 - Day 11 - May 10, 2024 - Cagliari

  • Weather: 24° Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 4-9kts
  • Wind Direction: 170° - 190°
  • Sea State: Flat
  • Crane In: 1210hrs Dock Out: 1330hrs
  • Dock In: 1730hrs Crane out:
  • Takeoff Angle TWA: 080-090 degrees Speed: 14-16kts (Port tack)
  • Total Tacks: 31 Fully Foiling: 22 Touch & Go: 7 Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 23 Fully Foiling: 18 Touch & Go: 4 Touch Down: 1

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 14 - May 10, 2024 - Barcelona

ARBR rolled out their AC75 at 09:30 and craned it to the water at 09:55, while two containers that had just arrived back from Jeddah were unloaded. A new piece of hardware was installed on the aft starboard side deck of the boat. The team docked out at 12:00 as planned.

The M2-1 was selected for today´s session, combined with the J3-1. Both sails were hoisted just before heading out of the port at 12:30.

Building medium winds from the SSW 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. This pattern was identified every day during last two weeks, possibly indicating a daily routine in which ordinary hydraulic and electronic checks are executed after the first ten to fifteen minutes of sailing.

At 12:50 the session continued with three upwind and downwind legs, looking for maximum VMG. A more aggressive pitch angle to some extent was identified, with the stern flying hardly noticeably higher and the bow pointing lower. However, the boat seemed harder to maintain stable on that axis, especially when sailing downwind, being forced to lift the bow up to reach the starting height position again.

At 13:25 there was a fifteen-minute break in which the J3-1 got replaced by the J3-3L, possibly to preserve its good condition, as maneuvers came next.

At 13:40 the training continued with one long upwind combined with a few tacks, and one downwind practicing “Ses”, zigzagging from upwind closed hauled course into downwind VMG course, back and forth, multiple times on both tacks.

At 14:20 close to the harbor entrance, there was a new fifteen minute break in which a full cyclors rotation occurred. The net cycling time of the first shift was seventy minutes.

With the new set of cyclors further “Ses” were carried out on both tacks, before heading to the race-course area where marks had been previously set.

After a ten-minute break, two two-lap upwind-downwind races were executed, entering the box on port tack and altering the top and bottom mark roundings to port and starboard. Fully foiling maneuvers during the pre-starts and while racing were observed.

In between races, an additional head-sail change happened with the J4-1 replacing the J3-3L.

One the last upwind of the second race, ARBR continued to sail back home towards the port, practicing some additional tacks.

Today it was the first time in which a team enters the harbor sailing with their new AC75. Once inside, sails got dropped, and the team docked at 16:40. Thirty minutes later it got craned out of the water.

Another very positive day of training 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 10, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 24 °. Sunny
  • Wind Strength 11-16kts
  • Wind Direction: 180° - 205°
  • Sea State: 0.25mtrs
  • Crane In: 0955hrs Dock Out: 1200hrs
  • Dock In: 1640hrs Crane out: 1710hrs
  • Takeoff Angle TWA: degrees Speed: kts
  • Total Tacks: 27 - Fully foiling: 21; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 3
  • Total Gybes: 16 - Fully foiling: 14; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

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

American Magic rolled out Patriot at 08:25 for their third sailing day this week, with the focus of the day being foil ventilation testing and race course practice. Patriot was craned in at 08:55 with the same appendages as previous days, minus a camera bulb removed from the outboard surface of the starboard foil arm stock. This was followed by hydraulics and FCS testing. Two rows of tell tales (6 on each row) were added in the fore and aft cyclor pods. Custom recumbent seats, specific to each cyclor, were observed carried into each cyclor pod. Batteries were also observed being carried into the midships centreline deck hatch, just aft of the mast base.

The team docked out at 10:40 and raised the MN2-1 mainsail and J3-1 jib under the breakwater, before setting sail at 11:23, with the local Garbi southerly thermal breeze measuring 8-11kn at the port entrance, building over the day with gusts of 15 knots measured on the race course by the early afternoon. The team started off with a downwind warmup to Badalona, before initiating foil ventilation testing and validation on a long starboard tack, then repeated on port tack. The flat sea state made for ideal foil testing conditions.

Following foil testing, Patriot was sailed downwind to the leeward gate of the set course, rounding with one board down before coming to a stop, as tech crew jumped on board ahead of pre-start practice. The team sailed into the start box on port, then gybed onto the starting leyline, arriving at the startline 7 seconds late (assuming start on :00 GPS time). Race course practice was abandoned as tech crew jumped on board to inspect the inboard surface of the foil arm stocks, subsequently applying vinyl stickers over both the foil arm hips. After sailing a 20 minute stint, vinyl stickers were reapplied, before the team called it a day to avoid further damage and sailed upwind back to base.

A cyclor rotation was lined up, with the larger cyclors in the squad ready to jump on, but did not take place due to the early end to the day. Sails were dropped by 13:55 and the team docked in by 14:20. Water was seen to be pouring out of the foil arm stocks during crane out. The team spent just under four hours on the water, of which 75 minutes were spent sailing. 25 manoeuvres were performed, 72% 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 3 - May 10, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 24 °C - Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 9kts-15kts
  • Wind Direction: 185°-190° degrees (E-S)
  • Sea State: 0.4 - 0.6mtrs 180 degrees (S)
  • Dock Out: 1040hrs
  • Dock In: 1420hrs
  • Takeoff Angle TWA: 050-060 ° Speed: 18kts
  • Total Tacks: 8 Fully Foiling: 6; Touch and Go: 0; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 17 Fully Foiling: 12; Touch and Go: 4; Touch Down: 1

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

Team INEOS Britannia rolled out RB3 at 10:00hrs today and crane in was done at 10:40hrs and after some regular checks and maintenances on the different aero and flight control systems, dock out was done at 12:30hrs. We observed that Lidar were installed just behind the trimmers and in fact when dobule checking pictures from previous days today was the third session that Lidars were being used. As well we noticed what we supposed are cameras to check the jibs, located at the sides from the deck bow.

Main sail MN2 was hoisted and paired to a J5 jib at the entrance of the harbour at around 12:50hrs. The sea state was looking really flat today and a breeze of about 10-12kts was blowing from 180º. They started sailing upwind in starboard side but after 500 m they stopped as something seemed not to be working. We could not identify what was it from the chase boat. They tried to start sailing two times more, but they had to stop and it was not until 14:40hrs that they managed to solve the issue. According to Giles Scott who was interviewed by this recon team at the end of the sailing session, the issue was about a software tweak that was required before they could start sailing.

When finally sailing INEOS Britannia completed five upwind and downwind legs, alternating long straight runs with some intense maneuvering exercises, totaling 81.7 nautical miles sailed in 2 h 50 min (foiling time) with 27 tacks (80% totally foiling), 31 gybes (90% totally foiling), 5 luffing’s (4 starboard, 1 portside) and 5 bear aways (2 starboard, 3 portside) completed.

After the issue from the beginning of the session was solved, they just stopped one time more for replacing the batteries and the cyclers (10-15 minutes) at 15:50hrs, that is 2hr 50mins since they left the harbour but 1hr 30mins since when they really started sailing.

The sailing height today was generally closer to the water than in previous days, holding in the downwinds a higher height from what seen in the upwinds.

The tacks were seen executed also in lower height. They were sailing with the J5 in the lower range and more even at the beginning of the session when there was less wind: 10-12kts. At the exit of the tacks the bow was touching the water surface by the beginning of the session, but later when the wind picked up (increased to 14kts) it stopped happening.

The gybes were done more flat to flat compared to the previous day and with great speed in the turn. They were quite successful.

Sails were dropped in front of the harbour at 17:10hrs and dock in was done for RB3 from INEOS Britannia at 17:40hrs.

[Jose Luis Piñana – AC Recon]

Crew - Sailing: Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott, Bleddyn Mon, Leigh McMillan
Crew - Power:Freddie Carr, Luke Parkinson (->Matt Gotrel, James Skulczuk), Neil Hunter, Ryan Todhunter, (-> Matt Rossiter, Harry Leask)

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

INEOS Britannia - AC75 - Day 9 - May 10, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 21° Clear sunny
  • Wind Strength: 10-14kts
  • Wind Direction: 190°
  • Sea State: 0.3 - 0.4mtrs from 200°
  • Crane In: 1040hrs Dock Out: 1230hrs
  • Dock In: 1740hrs Crane out: 1830hrs
  • Takeoff Angle TWA: 085° Speed: 16kts
  • Total Tacks: 27 Fully Foiling: 20 Touch & Go: 7 Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 31 Fully Foiling: 27 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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