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Cup Spy Jan 25: Test day in Auckland. Slingsby reflects on American Magic

by Richard Gladwell/ 28 Jan 09:20 GMT 28 January 2023
Emirates Team New Zealand's AC40-3 - Hauraki Gulf - January 25, 2023 © Richard Gladwell -

Emirates Team New Zealand launches two AC-40's and runs into a 20-25kt breeze and confused sea state off North Head. Tom Slingsby gives an objective assessment of his new team American Magic.

What happened in the Cup - January 25, 2023:

  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing last sailed January 24
  • INEOS Britannia last sailed January 23
  • American Magic sailed today. (See Report below.)
  • Emirates Team New Zealand sailed today.(See Report below.)
  • Luna Rossa last sailed January 22, 2023.
  • No further developments from the late entry French K-Challenge. An announcement was expected in mid-late January according to an earlier announcement by the Late Entry team.

    Emirates Team New Zealand - AC40-3 - Auckland - Day 11

    Today there was a long delay between the launch and departure of the AC-40 One Design. Looking towards the team base, the launch crane could be seen in the extended position, but curiously with two AC-40 masts also visible.

    While we hoped that we would see two AC-40s sailing against each other, it transpired that the two boats were launched together as part of a synchronisation check ahead of the start of a two-boat testing and match racing program.

    Soon after midday, a single AC-40 could be seen coming down the harbour, sailing hard on the wind into a NE breeze. On the opposite horizon, an earlier rain squall had passed by, accompanied by an increase in the breeze from 10kts to 20-25kts. After the squall passed, the breeze stayed at an increased strength of 18-20kts.

    The squall set up an interesting exercise as to how the AC-40 would perform in a seaway, limited by what is available in the sheltered waters of the Inner and Outer Waitemata Harbour.

    With a breeze of 18-20kts gusting 25kts, pushing against the ebbing tide, a confused sea was kicked up of probably 0.7 metres in height, with plenty of broken water. The confused seaway comprised a bit of easterly swell, wind chop, the tide against both, and a big bounce-back of waves from North Head.

    There were plenty of sheep in the paddock - a phrase used by local sailors to describe the sight of white breaking waves against a blue/green sea.

    Surprisingly, given what has been seen on the LEQ12s of other teams, the AC40-3 handled the conditions well. We had expected to see much worse.

    There were no significant instances of wave-strike on the foil arms, slowing the boat. Instead, it was full speed ahead. The AC-40's hull was slightly clear of the water. When the sea state increased, the centre bustle had sufficient buoyancy to provide the required lift without slowing the boat.

    We saw a few tacks as they cleared the harbour entrance. They weren't dry tacks by any means and probably a bit more than just a touchdown, but again the passage of the AC-40 seemed smooth and effortless.

    With ETNZ, the black-coloured foil arm is part of the wing foil itself, while the white section is the standard foil arm which pivots around the foil cant axis pin.

    It can be seen in the image above where the black and white foil arm parts connect on the port foil, which is in the raised position. On the starboard foil, we can see that a lot of the wing foil is immersed. Nothing is showing of the black team-designed wing foil, and the hull of the AC-40 is being flown with the centreline bustle partially immersed.

    Side-on, the AC40 was sometimes clear of the waves and partially immersed in others. But again, the AC40's momentum was not affected as she strode through the white-capped and confused sea state.

    The stats quoted below for the Kiwi's tacks and gybes, and how the AC37 Recon team scored them, are at variance with what we observed at the harbour entrance and beyond through a pair of 14x power electronically stabilised binoculars. Presumably, the Recon team started their scoring tack/gybe stats collection when the Kiwis arrived at Course E and went through their routines.

    In short, the AC-40 turned in an impressive performance, and one we had not expected to see. We didn't see the downwind run through the same channel because the AC-40 was towed home.

    From the crew list below, it is clear that ETNZ is using the week to induct members of the Youth and Womens America's Cup crews to the AC40. Liv Mackay is one of the tacticians/strategists from the NZSailGP team. Tokyo2020 Olympian Leonard Takahashi and Marcus Hansen are both top 49er sailors with foiling experience.

    Session Statistics - Auckland - January 25, 2022 - Emirates Team New Zealand - AC40-3 AC40-OD - Day 11

    • Wind Strength 10-22kts (PM)
    • Wind Direction: NE(PM)
    • Weather: Sunny, 50% cloud cover. Temperature: 24 degreesC
    • Sea State: Moderate (Course E) Moderate cross-chop - wind against tide in transit (PM)
    • Roll Out: 1030hrs; Dock Out: 1230hrs
    • Dock In: 1605hrs; Crane Out: 1640hrs
    • Total Tacks: 48 - Fully foiling: 46; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 0
    • Total Gybes: 26 - Fully foiling: 25; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0
    • Crew: Peter Burling, Nathan Outteridge (co-helms), Andy Maloney, Josh Junior, Leonard Takahashi, Liv Mackay, Sam Meech, Marcus Hansen

    Report from the AC37 Joint Recon Team: Another stunning day on the Hauraki Gulf. Good sail shape control, mainsail outhaul cars never at maximum travel, No flutter observed. New lower battens in mainsail running past main sheet observed.

    American Magic - AC75 Version 2 - Pensacola - January 25, 2023 - Day 38

    From the AC37 Joint Recon Team:

    Patriot sailed inshore today, covered approximately 97 nm, comprised of 42 W/L legs. Three headsails were loaded into the support RIB, two were used along with two mains. Sailing began at 10:32, completed 79 maneuvers and ended sailing at 15:44.

    Patriot had a total flying time of 186 Minutes. Top speeds were approximately 40k upwind (according to RIB GPS) and "over 50k" downwind (according to interview).

    The team were pushing very hard today, posting all time high numbers in: Foiling time, number of maneuvers, maneuver success rate, distance sailed, and top speed. The later part of the day was comprised of many back to back race laps in the southern portion of the bay (where the breeze was most consistent).

    Patriot encountered higher wind speeds (upwards of 19k) than the AC37 Joint Recon team observed. The difference is likely due to the difference in the height it was measured.

    Patriot was on foil a combined total of 186 minutes. Flight times ranged from 2 minutes to 47 minutes (47, 31, 14, 25, 4, 6, 16, 15, 3, 9, 2, and 14 minutes respectively).

    Patriot is expected to roll out at 08:15 tomorrow Thursday 1/26.

    After the training session co-helmsman, and dual America's Cup winner and Olympic Gold medalist, Tom Slingsby gave his thoughts in the dockside interview.

    "I'd say it's probably one of the best days training I've done with the team. We had two sessions, a couple of hours for each one, probably three hours for the second one. So it really good day, we've probably had 16-17 knots on the water in general, and lots of manoeuvres, lots of race laps and very good day for us."

    It was claimed that American Magic set three in-house records - being coming close to the 100 nautical mile distance sale; possibly the highest total number of manoeuvres and 100% success rate on the manoeuvres.

    "It was those perfect conditions to nail your manoeuvres and, and sail a lot of distance. We also did over 50 knots, which is a bit of fun as probably the quickest I've been on these boats before and it was good. The boat was performing great. The cyclists did a great job."

    Part of the test script for the day included testing two mainsails - with the first getting 3.25hrs and the second almost 2hrs.

    "We wanted to compare two mains against each other. So we had one main up this morning, we went out and did a couple of hours with that came in and tested the other main and we're testing that. We're just trying to decide where our crossovers are, and which one is better in certain conditions and it feels like we did that."

    Slingsby is a relatively recent signing, and probably the Catch of the Year for the team. He was asked his view of where the team was positioned, given that it had made a late start, and then ran with an AC75 - which didn't have too many miles on the clock, and upgraded to be near compliant with Version 2 of the AC75 Class Rule.

    "I think, Terry and Tyson (Lamond, Chief Operations Officer) have done a great job from an overall planning things. Including some that were done maybe a year ago, just to get us here sailing the AC75 consistently, and with the full squad here sailing day in day out, for this whole winter.

    "That's been an amazing move. "

    "We've probably got less experience in the sailing team [compared to other teams]. And we've got to train up a few guys who haven't sailed these type of boats as much."

    He says the AC75 has some advantages over the 40fters used by the other teams from the 2021 America's Cup. "It allows us to get more people on the boat looking at it. It allows the designers to jump on the boat and check all different areas for how they want to design the new boat. I think that's been a real strength."

    "I think we have our weaknesses, probably on paper, like our sailing team isn't as strong as a Team New Zealand. With the designers, we don't have some of the big names who have won the Cup all the time. But I think we all understand that.

    "We know we've got to work harder to achieve good results. But we're all here. We've all got the same goal. And there's a really good atmosphere in the team."

    "I think that's going to be strong for us," he said in conclusion.

    Session Statistics - Pensacola - January 25, 2023 - American Magic - AC75 V1.5 - Day 38

    • Wind Strength 10-15kts
    • Wind Direction: SW (PM)
    • Sea State: 1-2ft chop (AM) 1-2ft chop (PM)
    • Roll out: 0835hrs Dock Out: 1000hrs
    • Dock In: 1600hrs Crane out: 1645hrs
    • Total Tacks: 48 - Fully foiling: 48; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
    • Total Gybes: 31 - Fully foiling: 31; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

    Crew: Paul Goodison, Tom Slingsby, Dan Morris, Riley Gibbs, Andrew Campbell, Dan Morris, John Croom, Madison Molitar

    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, 2017 and 2021 America's Cups.

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