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Cup Spy May 24: Italians sail their AC75 for the first time off Barcelona

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 25 May 06:35 PDT 25 May 2024
Luna Rossa - AC75 - Day 24 - May 24, 2024 - Barcelona © Ivo Rovira / Americas Cup

Italian Challenger Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli made their grand entrance onto the 2024 America's Cup stage in Barcelona, today, sailing a three hour session in moderate winds, without incident.

The Swiss, and US teams also sailed their AC75s off Barcelona - also without incident, which in Auckland the Kiwis wrapped up their Youth and Womens team training in winds gusting to 20kts. The frenetic training session, ended without incident, however one of the AC40s blew the clew of an old LEQ12 mainsail during the sail back to base.

What happened in the Cup - May 24, 2024:

  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli sailed for the first time off Barcelona - without incident - encountering conditions which co-helm Francesco Bruni said was different from that experienced off Cagliari. A question for the coming days will be how different, given the Italians have spent very little time sailing out of Barcelona in this America's Cup cycle.
  • Orient Express Racing Team: Revealed their AC75 raceboat, outside their Barcelona base. It is to a base design supplied by Emirates Team New Zealand. A launch date has yet to be publicly advised.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing put in a solid four hour on the water session which appeared to be completed without incident. They sailed with the same rudder that was damaged in the UFO strike yesterday, with skipper Arnaud Psarofaghis dismissing the damage as being minor.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand continued with their week-long training block for Youth and Womens America's Cup squads. After losing Thursday due to a lack of wind, an offshore breeze cracked in on Friday, testing the Women's and Youth crews in a frenetic match racing session. They blew the clew out of an old LEQ12 mainsail on the way back to base. Emirates Team New Zealand's AC75 is in the process of being shipped to Barcelona. It left NZ on Tuesday afternoon and will go through the Panama Canal en route to Spain.
  • American Magic put in an six hour on the water session off Barcelona in winds reported to be up to 15kts and seas of over a metre. There were no reported issues with the AC75, today. After having a crack against INEOS Britannia, yesterday, today the US team had a look at the Italian Challenger Luna Rossa, out for its first sail off Barcelona.
  • INEOS Britannia did not sail as stated after yesterdays' session and will not be back off Barcelona until Monday.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - AC75 - Day 14 - May 24, 2024 - Barcelona

For their first sailing day in Barcelona, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team rolled out their B3 at 11:20hrs with the new port wingfoil, modified starboard wingfoil and with a see-through windscreen on starboard flight controller. It is yet unclear whether there are changes between starboard and port wings, while slender cameras cases were fitted on both wings on lower and upper sides.

The team run through the usual dock checks before leaving the dock at 13:15hrs. The mainsail M1-7 was hoisted at 13:30 and paired to the J2-7 jib as the breeze was measured 9.5-11kts from 80-85° with 0.75m chop from 95°. For the first stint of 15 minutes, B3 self took off at 14-15kts on starboard tack and sailed upwind for straightline combined to two fully foiling tacks.

A short break followed with technicians dive below deck before the next stint commenced at 14:15hrs. Up foilborne by self take off on port tack, B3 headed for a short upwind before bearing away for a long straightline downwind on starboard tack. Sailing downwind, the yacht seemed to struggle slightly more on starboard tack compared to port tack.

Chase boats and virtual marks were then used to setup a course and an unofficial starting practice was observed followed by an upwind and downwind leg. As the yacht decellerated at 14:40hrs, several shots were taken by the team on both lower part of each appendage. The breeze appeared increasing to 12-13kts and the J2-7 was lowered to hoist the J3-7.

The third session started at 15:00hrs via self take off on port tack, developing in additional straight lining on port tack before a second prestart drill was observed. No cyclor rotation and batteries swap were observed during the day.

The yacht decelerated at 15:25hrs right after the starting drill and the team began to lower sails. It was quite hard to keep up with B3 in the chop. Overall the team seemed to have a confident first day of sailing in Barcelona with approximately 65 minutes foilborne, 12 tacks and 9 gybes, out of which 80% fully foiling .

[Report from [Michele Melis AC Recon]


Sailing: Checco Bruni (port), Jimmy Spithill (stb)

Power: Bruno Rosetti(stb fwd) Enrico Voltolini(port fwd), Cesare Gabbia(port aft), Emanuele Liuzzi (stb aft) (no rotation)

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - AC75 - Day 14 - May 24, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 22°C Part cloudy/Sunny
  • Wind Strength 9.5kts-12kts
  • Wind Direction: 75°-85°
  • Sea State: 0.9mtr-1.4mtrs from 165°
  • Crane In: 1150hrs Dock Out: 1315hrs
  • Dock In: 1620hrs Crane out: 1705hrs
  • Takeoff Data: Boatspeed 14-16kts - on both tacks; Angle not supplied, Windspeed Not stated
  • Total Tacks: 12 - Fully foiling: 10; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 9 - Fully foiling: 7; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 0

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 21 - May 24, 2024 - Barcelona

Alinghi Red Bull Racing (ARBR) rolled out their AC75 at 10:00hrs The boat was craned to the water at 10:25hrs and the team docked out at 12:00hrs, after usual routine activities.

The M2-1 [mainsail]was selected for the session, combined with the legacy [jib] J3-3L. Both sails were hoisted just before heading out of the port at 12:35, with Arnaud Psarofaghis (stb helm), Maxime Bachelin (port helm), Bryan Mettraux (stb flight controller), and Nicolas Rolaz in replacement of Nicolas Charbonnier on the port side trimmer position.

Easterly medium winds prevailed during the session, increasing in intensity towards the afternoon and slightly shifting right during the day, combined with a considerable disorganized sea state.

The training started with an upwind-downwind. In the middle of the first leg a small piece of plastic got stuck on the port side foil wing, that forced a short stop to get it removed.

At 12:58hrs there was a first ten-minute break in which the technicians got onboard to execute their respective routine checks.

In a day clearly focused on boat handling and pre-start movements, the training continued with some “Ses” on starboard tack, followed by some “zeros”, trying to achieve a stable boat with a good coordination in between flight controlling, sails trimming and course changes, in complicated seas.

By 13:45hrs Alinghi Red Bull Racing was back at the race-course area, where marks had been laid and the pre-start sequences got underway just after a short break. A total of three sequences were accomplished, with the J3-3L altering port and starboard tack entries and different movements inside be box. The first two sequences were abandoned right after the start, while the third one continued with a one-lap upwind-downwind executing five tacks and four gybes, before rounding the bottom left gate.

At 14:33hrs there was a twenty-minute break in which the legacy J3-3L got replaced by the J4-1, and two new cyclors came onboard to stand in for their colleagues on the starboard side.

At 14:50hrs a short upwind-downwind was carried out, combined with some “zeros” with the J4-1. Then at 15:24 the fourth pre-start sequence was accomplished, stopping right after the start for a five-minute debrief.

At 15:46hrs the fifth and last sequence of the day happened, continuing with a three-lap upwind-downwind altering the top mark rounding to port and starboard and executing four tacks and gybes per leg on average.

After rounding the leeward gates, ARBR continued to sail towards the port.

ABBR entered the harbor sailing at 16:15hrs, then sails got lowered and the team docked at 16:45hrs. Half an hour later it was craned out of the water, indicating the end of the day.

[Sebastian Peri Brusa - Recon on ARBR]


Sailing: Arnaud Psarofaghis (stb); Maxime Bachelin (port); Bryan Mettraux (stb); Nicolas Rolaz (port)

Power: F. Noti; A. Cevey; B.Delarze; N. Theunink; Second shift: N. Stahlberg; T. Schir (only two cyclors replacement/rotation on stb side)

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 21 - May 24, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 21 degrees. Mostly sunny
  • Wind Strength 12kts-16kts
  • Wind Direction: 75°- 105°
  • Sea State: 0.8mtrs swell, disorganised swell and choppy.
  • Crane In: 1025hrs Dock Out: 1200 hrs
  • Dock In: 1645hrs; Crane out: 1715hrs
  • Takeoff Angle: All self - no data.
  • Total Tacks: 24 - Fully foiling: 20; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 17 - Fully foiling: 14; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 2

American Magic - AC75 - Day 11 - May 24, 2024 - Barcelona

American Magic rolled out Patriot at 08:30hrs, delayed from 07:50hrs due to ongoing works on foils, followed by crane in at 08:50hrs.

The spray rail arrangement on the port foil arm stock has been adjusted with two more rails added back and the top rail shortened and moved down, while on the starboard foil; the upper spray rail from leading to trailing edge was removed (small spray rail at leading edge half way down remains). A change in the rudder was also declared, but the difference was not noticed today. The port forward cyclor pod cover was back in place, covering half the pod, with tell tales on the surface. All tell tales have been replaced in green, with more tell tales on strings and sticks been placed in open areas.

The team docked out at 10:00hrs, with the new MN1-1 mainsail (bigger than the MN2-1) and the J2-1 jib hoisted under the breakwater. Sailing commenced at 10:57hrs, with an average 12kts of breeze from 60° in the morning, and up to 15kts at 105° in the afternoon, amidst an easterly sea state up to 1.2m in height and 3-4s in period. The team started with testing five short upwind/downwind stints, effectively adjusting settings in between as the boat grew visibly more stable.

The team began race course practice just after midday, entering the box on starboard and demonstrating a more technical pre-start than previous days, completing two turns before the final approach to the line. The course was set at 76°. The course length, 1.86nm, was measured by sitting on and marking the pin end of the leeward and windward gates via the onboard Garmin GPS. Leg 1 (upwind) was timed at 5 minutes 21 seconds, giving an average VMG (Velocity Made Good - in the direction of the mark) of 20.9kts, while Leg 2 (downwind) was timed at 4min:11secs, giving an average VMG of 26.7kts. The team continued on a second lap, rounding a virtual windward buoy to the right of the set gate. The number of manoeuvres per leg were not recorded for this race. Following the two lap stint, the cyclor team rotated and the J2 jib was exchanged for the J3-1.

A second start saw the team enter on port, slightly late, but clear at the go, then stopped after a few hundred meters as tech crew jumped on board to focus on the jib clew area. Patriot entered on port for the third and final start, clear at the gun, and sailed a lap of the unchanged set course. Four tacks were performed in Leg 1, timed at 5min:08secs, avg 21.7kts VMG, and three gybes were performed in Leg 2, timed at 3min:42secs, avg of 30.2kt VMG. Patriot came to a stop following a touch and go leeward rounding, before resuming upwind to a virtual buoy. The leeward rounding was followed by a series of bare-aways and round ups in quick succession on starboard, then repeated on port.

The team took a 15 minute debriefing and lunch break, before a long upwind, initially sailing long stretches before transitioning into manoeuvres in quicker succession. This was repeated downwind, with a short pause half way down, as the team aimed for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and lined up downwind for a very brief period, before continuing downwind to base and dropping sails under the breakwater at 14:45hrs

The team docked in at 14:55hrs after five hours on the water and 141 minutes of active sailing. 70 manoeuvres were observed, at 87% fully foiling rate. Patriot was craned out at 15:35hrs, with further works on board carried out for another 40 minutes before the rig was craned off and the yacht rolled back into the shed.

[Justin Busuttil - AC Recon]


Sailing: Tom Slingsby, Paul Goodison, Michael Menninger, Andrew Campbell

Power: Carlton Hall, Ashton Lambie, Chris Shirley, Trevor Burd, Cooper Dressler, John Croom, James Wright, Tim Hornsby

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC75 - Day 11 - May 24, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 21 degrees Part cloudy
  • Wind Strength: 9-15kts
  • Wind Direction: 60°-105°
  • Sea State: 0.7-1.2mtrs from E
  • Crane In: 0850hrs Dock Out: 1000hrs
  • Dock In: 1445hrs Crane out: 1535hrs
  • Takeoff Angle TWA: 70°-85° Boatspeed: 18-20kts
  • Total Tacks: 22; Fully Foiling: 21; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1;
  • Total Gybes: 13; Fully Foiling: 11; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 1;

Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12-AC40OD - Day 80 - May 24, 2024 - Auckland

Day 80 of sailing LEQ 12 on the Hauraki Gulf for Emirates Team NZ. The day kicked off with the Women's team heading out onto the harbor to get some training laps in the AC40-OD before being joined later in the afternoon by LEQ 12 for some two-boat testing.

They headed to the 'back paddock' south of Motuihe Island to set up the course and get into some practice starts. Onboard the AC40-OD were Josh Junior, Sam Meech, Marcus Hansen, and Gemma Jones. After a short warm-up, they got straight into racing.

With the highest wind we have seen during this two-boat testing phase, the teams were sailing hard during the pre-starts. They took noticeably more risks to fit manoeuvres in, even if that meant touching down. This was high-risk, high-reward starting practice because if the team managed to complete the manoeuvre and remain foiling and in control, they would win the start. However, when they didn't, they would end up stopped in the water with the opposition sailing off with no competition.

LEQ12 was using a One Design foil on the port side today in an attempt to even up the speed difference between the boats. There was a noticeable change; however, more often than not, the LEQ12 team would come out on top off the start line. It was impressive to see how quickly the boats could tack and gybe when needed to gain an advantage in position.

Pulling up the marks and getting ready to sail back up the harbour, the crews did a quick swap around. Josh Junior stepped onboard LEQ12 into the driving spot, and Nathan Outteridge joined the Women's team onboard AC40-OD.

While sailing back up the harbor, AC40-OD, using LEQ 12 sails, Te Kakahi experienced a breakage. Sailing close-hauled in approximately 16-18 kts, the leeward main skin clew board failed, causing the boat to stop rapidly. Ending the session, both boats dropped sails and headed for the dock.

Recon had an interview with ETNZ Women's America's Cup Sailor - Erica Dawson

[AC37 Joint Recon Team - Sam Thom and Connor Mashlan]

Session Statistics: Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12-AC40OD - Day 80 - May 24, 2024 - Auckland

  • Weather: 11°-17° Rolling rain squalls
  • Wind Strength: 8kts-13kts gusting 20kts
  • Wind Direction: SW
  • Sea State: Flat Inner Harbour
  • Crane In: No Data; Dock Out: 1300hrs;
  • Dock In: 1630hrs; Crane out:
  • Takeoff Angle TWA: NA - AC40s
  • Total Tacks: NA; Fully Foiling: NA; Touch & Go: NA; Touch Down: NA;
  • Total Gybes: NA; Fully Foiling: NA; Touch & Go: NA; Touch Down: NA;

Additional Images:

The Official Video of the Day:

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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