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Cup Spy May 29: AC75s duck and dive as the training intensity lifts off Barcelona

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 31 May 23:31 PDT 1 June 2024
American Magic foils through the harbour entrance in Barcelona - AC75 - Day 15 - May 29, 2024 © Alex Carabi / America's Cup

Four teams teams sailed on Wednesday in the congested waters off Barcelona in ideal foiling conditions on a sunny day with a southerly breeze of up to 15kts. The summer direction breeze was accompanied by a slight to moderate seastate aligned with the breeze. All teams conducted similar sessions focussed around racing drills, allowing the crews to get a feel for the handling characteristics of the new Version 2 compliant wing foils - which are wider deeper and lighter than those permitted for the 2021 America's Cup in Auckland.

What happened in the Cup - May 29, 2024:

  • American Magic sailed for over five hours focusing on racing manoeuvres - performing 84 tacks gybes - and doing a "touch and go" on only three of them - an excellent performance from boat and crew.
  • INEOS Britannia had a five hour session, which to be a mix of speed work and racing manoevres, including starts. There were no incidents. Interestingly the Brits have a lower takeoff speed than other teams at 16kts - others are in the 16-18kts takeoff speed, and in this regard the Brits have covered off their serious weakness where they were very sticky in Auckland during racing in the 2021 America's cup.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailed for four and a half hours, like the others indulging in mostly race practice in the easy foiling conditions and putting in 82 gybes/tacks, and with their chase boat entering the fray for the final two leg race of the day.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli followed a similar set of exercises to the others teams in a four and a half hour session. The breeze died to just below 10kts towards the end of the day, and the Italians changed to a bigger #J2 jib in response. They had a minor issue earlier in the session believed to be related to the jib sheet/traveller - however the issue was resolved on the water.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand did not sail their AC40's with winds gusting to over 50kts on the Waitemata Harbour. Emirates Team New Zealand's AC75 is in the process of being shipped to Barcelona. It left NZ on a week ago and will go through the Panama Canal en route to Spain in about a week.
  • Orient Express Racing Team christened their AC75 on Wednesday. Their sailing crew have departed for Halifax for the SailGP regatta in the weekend. The first sail is not expected until after they return next week. As mentioned earlier, from what we could see of the AC75 and comments by Bruno Dubois it would seem that the French obtained a complete snapshot of the Kiwi design package including wingfoils and custom hardware. The christening images do not show any more of the AC75 than was previously revealed.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

INEOS Britannia - AC75 - Day 17 - May 29, 2024 - Barcelona

Team INEOS Britannia rolled out their AC75 at 09:00hrs and was launched at 09:30hrs and then after, some regular checks and maintenances on the different aero and flight control systems were done. The Brits were the first of four teams to dockout at 1100hrs, with the others leaving up to two hours later.

We could see that the legacy rudder had been reinstalled.

The same cameras from the last sailing session were installed in both port and starboard foils. Lidars for main and jib sails were also on board.

Dockout was done at 11:00hrs, when Britannia was towed to the entrance of the harbour where sails were hoisted. Mainsail MN2 was paired to a J4 jib. A wind of about 10-13kts from 190 degrees was blowing when they finished hoisting the sails.

Today's sailing session can be summarized in a total of 12 upwinds and 11 downwinds sailed with 35 tacks, 33 gybes and 4 JK manoeuvres drilled. The first three downwinds and two first upwinds were done as a warmup to set up the boat to the existing wind and sea state conditions. Then the next two upwinds were done with very long straight lines at different speeds while playing with different heaves (INEOS-speak for ride height set by the flight controller). According to Will Bakewell, who was interviewed at the end of the day said that they were: "just doing some tests to slow down the boat and see how it responds in those modes. So we're focusing on a full performance".

The following laps were done through four races of two laps each one except for the last one where just one lap was done before getting back to port. A course race was set a bit downwind to Port Olympic by the team with four marks: two for the bottom gate and two for the upwind gate.

In 75% of the starts were entered from Britannia in port side and mark rounding's were done 60% to starboard in the bottom mark and 60% to port side in the top mark.

Today's timeouts:

  • One swap of batteries was done at 14:05hrs, almost 2hrs 25mins after they started to sail (2hrs 5mins of effective sailing)
  • Two cycler swaps were done: first after 70mins of effective foiling, second one after 55min of effective foiling.

The following were the features of the sailing drills undertaken.

Four JKs (270 degrees) roundings were done at each training race: one after a port tack rounding which failed, and three after starboard rounding's which were one was excellent and two greats (maybe some speed missing at the exit of the manoeuvre).

Team INEOS Britannia dropped the sails at 15:30hrs and docked in at 16:00hrs after approximately 190 minutes of sailing.

Crew - Sailing: Ben Ainslie, Dylan Fletcher, Bleddyn Mon, Leigh McMillan
Crew - Power: Luke Parkinson, Matt Rossiter, Ryan Todhunter, Matt Gotrel

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

Session Statistics: INEOS Britannia - AC75 - Day 17 - May 29, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 24 degrees Cloudy
  • Wind Strength: 10-15kts
  • Wind Direction: 190 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.3-0.6mtrs from 215 degrees
  • Crane In: 0935hrs Dock Out: 1100hrs
  • Dock In: 1600hrs Crane out: 1640hrs
  • Takeoff; Self launch; TWA: 080 degrees Speed: 16kts
  • Total Tacks: 35 Fully Foiling: 32; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 33 Fully Foiling: 30; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 3

Orient Express - AC75 - Day 2 - May 29, 2024 - Barcelona

Orient Express Racing Team held the Christening ceremony for their new AC75 today at the French team base in Barcelona.

At 1140hrs, watched by an audience of around 400 wellwishers, team members, and a contingent from the international media, the blue-hulled boat was wheeled slowly out of the boat shed shrouded in smoke.

With the boat positioned diagonally across the French forecourt, attention turned to the stage where a Q&A session with team bosses Stepane Kandler and Bruno Dubois was followed by addresses from Sebastien Bazin (CEO of Accor) and Christophe Babule (CEO of L'Oreal Group).

Following that, both the French Women's and Youth crews were invited up on stage, before Orient Express Racing Team skipper Quentin Delapierre thanked the entire French team and went on to introduce each of the OERT sailing line-up.

With the speeches complete Quentin had the honour of Christening the boat by breaking a bottle of champagne on the leading edge of the port foil.

The French boat's first sailing day is likely to be next week when Delapierre and other key members of the crew return from this weekend's Canadian SailGP event.

Session Statistics: Orient Express - AC75 - Day 1 - May 29, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Clear skies

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - AC75 - Day 17 - May 29, 2024 - Barcelona

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team rolled out the B3 boat at 11:00hrs, stepped mast and launched by 11:50hrs. Dock out was scheduled for 12:35hrs and the team hoisted mainsail M1-7 + jib J3-7. Just outside the harbour, with breeze from 185 degrees and 12.5-14kt, the first sailing session began with a self take off at 15-16kts 80 degrees TWA (True Wind Angle) on starboard tack.

The seastate looked moderate with chop of 0.3-0.6mtrs from 210 degrees over the entire day. A fast bear-away led the team to the first downwind run, proceeding with some gybes before trimming back for some additional straightline and several tacks.

This routine was drilled three times before coming to a stop during which marks were laid out. Then, two prestarts drills with were observed, spending two minutes in the box, each followed by an upwind and a downwind leg.

The course length measured 1.72nm and Luna Rossa sailed alone on the track at first.

At 14:30hrs the yacht was slowed to swap port helm, port trimmer and two aft pod cyclors.

Batteries were switched after approximately 78 minutes. A short run was sailed but an issue, perhaps on the jib track and/or mast base, forced the team to slow down the yacht, unclear the nature of the issue.

Apparently nothing major was found, as the yacht was quickly foilborne again for a third prestart drill.

B3 seemed to start late executing a sudden and slow tack from stb to port tack. After sailing two legs and executing four tacks on the upwind and three gybes for the downwind, the fourth starting drill was observed, with B3 now on stb entry. Almost on the starting gunshot time, the chaseboat started engaging with the yacht forcing comms and decisions.

Two races were sailed with four legs each. After a short break, the next prestart drill saw the B3 yacht sailing full circles around committee before starting and racing four legs.

At 16:15 the breeze was fading with 9.5-11kts from 195 degrees and hence the J3-7 was dropped to hoist the J2-7. The Italians got foilborne at 16:30hrs, the last prestart drill was practiced with stb entry followed by two legs and extending the last upwind all the way towards the harbour gate to lower sails. The team docked in at 17:15hrs with approximately 156 minutes foilborne, 58 tacks and 49 gybes were counted, more consistent with 93% foil-to foil rate [Michele Melis AC Recon].


Sailing: Francesco Bruni (port), Jimmy Spithill (stb), Marco Gradoni, Andrea Tesei, Umberto Molineris, Vittorio Bissaro.

Power: Bruno Rosetti(stb fwd) Bruno Rosetti, Enrico Voltolini, Cesare Gabbia, Romano Battisti, Paolo Simon.

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - AC75 - Day 17 - May 29, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 24 degreesC Sunny
  • Wind Strength 9.5kts-15kts
  • Wind Direction: 195 degrees-200 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.3mtr- 0.6mtrs from 210 degrees
  • Crane In: 1150hrs Dock Out: 1230hrs
  • Dock In: 1715hrs Crane out: 1800hrs
  • Takeoff Data: Self Boatspeed 14-16kts - on both tacks;
  • Total Tacks: 58 - Fully foiling: 53; Touch & Go: 4; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 49 - Fully foiling: 46; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 0

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 23 - May 29, 2024 - Barcelona

ARBR rolled out their AC75 at 09:50 and craned it to the water at 10:22. The team docked out at 13:00 as planned, after usual routine activities, with Nicolas Charbonnier back on the port side trimmer position. The same wing tips as the ones identified on Tuesday May 28th remained on both ends of the port side foil wing.

The M2-1 was selected for today's session, combined with the J4-1. Both sails were hoisted just before heading out of the port. Medium winds from the south-southwest prevailed during the day, combined with mostly flat-water conditions.

The training started at 13:25 with a downwind-upwind warm up. Then there was a ten-minute break in which the J4-1 got lowered to adjust the length of the top lashing that connects to the halyard. Five minutes after, it got re-hoisted.

At 14:00 the session continued with two long upwind-downwinds, sailing mostly in a straight line. ARBR seemed more stable and flying slightly lower than the past days, possibly as a result of an easier sea state. This double upwind-downwind was combined with some reach course straight line sailing on both tacks, possibly to test differences in between the port and starboard side foil wing tips at maximum boat-speed.

In addition, in relation to the boat tuning, we noticed the uppers and lowers on the leeward side pretty slack, moving all the time and a considerable forestay sag.

At 14:36 there was a ten-minute break in which the hydraulics' and electronics' engineers got onboard, together with the boat captain and rigger.

The training continued with its focus shifted towards the tacks and gybes, executing one upwind-downwind doing approximately eight maneuvers per leg, respectively.

We identified the Swiss changing course faster than other days through the maneuvers and transitioning threw head to wind with a more aggressive pitch angle. However, this again could be just as a consequence of better sea state conditions that permitted it.

At 15:10 there was a twenty-minute break in which the J3-1 came up to replace the J4-1, and the second shift of cyclors came onboard in replacement of the starting quatrain.

At 15:30 an extra upwind-downwind with multiple tacks and gybes was delivered by the swiss team.

By 15:50 after a short five-minute break, ARBR was back at the race-course area where marks had been laid by one of the coach boats, and the pre-starts training got under way.

At total of three sequences were executed, altering port and starboard entries and varying the starting position on the line.

The first two start drills were abandoned immediately after the start, while the third one continued with a three-lap upwind-downwind with virtual lay lines, altering the top and downwind gates mark rounding to port and starboard; and racing against one of the chase boats that simulated as if it was a competitor who was ahead, tacking on their front on the upwinds and covering on the downwind legs.

After rounding the gates for the third time, ARBR headed back to the base sailing upwind.

The AC75 entered the harbor sailing at 17:10, then proceeded to lower both sails and docked at 17:30. Thirty-five minutes later, it got 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 23 - May 29, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 21 degrees. Mostly sunny
  • Wind Strength 12.5kts-15kts
  • Wind Direction: 190 degrees- 200 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.4mtrs swell, flat
  • Crane In: 1022hrs Dock Out: 1300 hrs
  • Dock In: 1730hrs; Crane out: 1805hrs
  • Takeoff Angle: All self - no data.
  • Total Tacks: 47 - Fully foiling: 36; Touch & Go: 6; Touch Down: 5
  • Total Gybes: 35 - Fully foiling: 33; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 1

American Magic - AC75 - Day 15 - May 29, 2024 - Barcelona

American Magic rolled out Patriot at 10:50, with an update to their port foil as per component declaration. The yacht was craned in at 11:25 and following standard system checks, the team docked out at 12:55. The MN2-1 (smaller) mainsail and J3-1 were hoisted under the breakwater, with southerly thermal wind blowing between 10-14 knots and a flat sea state.

The first couple of sessions were dedicated to drilling through manoeuvres, with adjustments made to the jib clew after the first stint. Free laps of the course were sailed, before the J3 was dropped in exchange for the J4, despite not much of a change in wind strength, suggesting at testing the crossover between the two jibs. A two lap run of the course was sailed. Patriot entered the pre-start box on port, starting slightly late with the hull dragging through the water, and rounded a virtual windward gate to the right of the set gate in both laps.

Following the race course practice, the J4 was dropped as techs jumped on board and got to work on the hydro systems below deck. This lasted exactly two hours, and by 17:15, the team were up and sailing again. A long upwind/downwind/upwind was sailed, as the team drilled plenty of manoeuvres, performing a "tack and bear-away" / "gybe and round-up" at each end of the leg. The latter manoeuvres, as well as JK manoeuvres were repeated multiple times on each tack, within a short space.

Sails were dropped at 18:00, and the team docked in at 18:15, after more than 5 hours on the water to conclude sailing for the month of May. The team spent 111 minutes actively sailing, with 84 manoeuvres observed at a fully foiling rate of 96%. During this month, since Patriot was launched, more than 26 hours of active sailing were recorded (S-W spread over 15 days incl. their launch/sail day on May 7.). 371 manoeuvres were observed by the recon unit (avg 51 per day) at an average 82% fully foiling.

[Justin Busuttil - AC Recon]


Sailing: Tom Slingsby, Paul Goodison, Riley Gibbs, Andrew Campbell

Power: Carlton Hall, Madison Molitor, James Wright, Ashton Lambie, Austin Regier

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC75 - Day 15 - May 29, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 23 degrees Part cloudy
  • Wind Strength: 11kts - 16kts
  • Wind Direction: 190 degrees - 200 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.3mtr 200 degrees-210 degrees
  • Crane In: 1125hrs Dock Out: 1255hrs
  • Dock In: 1815hrs Crane out: 1900hrs
  • Takeoff Angle TWA: 70 degrees-80 degrees Boatspeed: 18kts-20kts
  • Total Tacks: 52; Fully Foiling: 49; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 0;
  • Total Gybes: 32; Fully Foiling: 32; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0;

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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