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Cup Spy Dec 4: Luna Rossa break their test boat - significant damage

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 5 Dec 2023 12:47 GMT 6 December 2023
Luna Rossa - LEQ12 Protype - Day 105 - December 4, 2023 - Cagliari, Sardinia © Job Vermeulen / America's Cup

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli had the misfortune to put a significant crack in the topside of their LEQ12 test boat, on Monday at the end of a test session in Cagliari, Sardinia.

The support boat moved in with pumps, and the 40ft foiler was assisted back to the team base.

The damage was the result of a nose-dive in lighter winds.

Luna Rossa Team Principal Max Sirena described the incident and damage to Michele Melis of the AC37 Joint Recon Team:

"Obviously was a good day. We did, as you guys know, a few changes to the boat, and everything was fine.

"We were basically at the beginning of the practice around the mark, and we had this big nosedive - probably the biggest one we had so far.

"It's funny because you think that in light condition nothing can happen. In reality most of the time it's happening in light breeze, because you're pushing more on the ride height, and all of that, so we've got, let's say big damage, but it's fixable.

"So the the plan is to be back in the water as soon as possible. We're gonna reassess more or less the entirety of the damage - but we have already a pretty clear idea is actually not too bad. It's just time consuming and we're gonna push to be back as soon as possible."

In their report the AC37 Recon team described the incident, of which unfortunately there are no images or video save for a post on the Luna Rossa Instagram site.

"The LEQ12 bore away on the right mark heading downwind and, entering the second gybe dropping the board, the steering seemed to be lost resulting in a deep nose dive almost going on the side afterwards. The impact looked significant and the chase boats went close passing on some water pumps and floating devices.

"Slightly forward of arm hinges on port and starboard, structural buckle cracks have been spotted over the forward deck and bow area extending all the way through mid freeboard and not below waterline."

On reflection, the Italian team has emerged with a boat that is damaged, but not catastrophically. Similar incidents in the past have resulted in boats sinking (One Australia 1995 Louis Vuitton Cup) or breaking their backs - Young America 2000 Louis Vuitton Cup. Emirates Team NZ broke the bow section of the AC40 prototype, while under test in the Hauraki Gulf in quite extreme conditions, which resulted in a changed internal structure. Luna Rossa are expected to better understand the AC75 structural forces as a result of the latest incident.

The damage to internal systems, particularly electrical systems on largely electric boat, could be significant - and more of an issue than structural damage.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) - LEQ12 - Day 105 - December, 4 2023 - Cagliari

The Italian team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) rolled out their LEQ12 prototype at 11:30hrs, proceeding with mast stepping procedure and craning the yacht in by 11:40hrs.

Wing04 was mounted on port arm while Wing01 on starboard arm. Routine checks followed and dockout was scheduled for 13:00hrs after having locked in mainsail M1-2 and pairing it to the J1-1.

With a covered sky, the pressure seemed quite light and was measured at 6-8kts from 155°. Four crew boarded the prototype which was then towed up foilborne on port tack at the beginning of the first foiling stint. The yacht practiced some tacks, mostly dry and quickly executed before bearing away on starboard tack and executing some gybe in light air. As the yacht came hullborne, the J1.1 was lowered to hoist the J1.5-2 as the breeze now had increased to 9-11kts from 150 TWA.

Another tow to fly on port tack followed and the yacht sailed upwind for another series of tacks followed by a series of gybes while Chase-2 laid out some marks. Once the course was set, the yacht engaged it rounding up the left mark of the bottom gate to head upwind.

After a couple of tacks, the LEQ12 bore away on the right mark heading downwind and, entering the second gybe dropping the board, the steering seemed to be lost resulting in a deep nose dive almost going on the side afterwards. The impact looked significant and the chase boats went close passing on some water pumps and floating devices.

Slightly forward of arm hinges on port and starboard, structural buckle cracks have been spotted over the forward deck and bow area extending all the way through mid freeboard and not below waterline. Hence the J1.5 was lowered while the main halyard seemed to be stuck at first. Marks were recovered by Recon Unit and the yacht was accompanied backwards by Chase-1 all the way to the dock.

For the day a foiling time of 37 minutes, 11 tacks and 8 gybes were counted.

[Michele Melis AC Recon].

Crew: Jimmy Spithill, Francesco Bruni, Andrea Tesei, Vittorio Bissaro

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa - LEQ12 - Day 105 - December 04, 2023 - Cagliari

  • Weather: Cloudy 20°C
  • Wind Strength 6-11kts
  • Wind Direction: 150°-155°
  • Sea State: Mostly flat
  • Crane In: 1140hrs Dock Out: 1300hrs
  • Dock In: 1540hrs Crane out: 1650hrs
  • Total Tacks: 11 - Fully foiling: 8; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 8 - Fully foiling: 7; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 x2 - Day 65 - December 4, 2023 - Jeddah

Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out their AC40-4 (RED) and AC40-7 (BLACK) at 09:15hrs and 09:45hrs respectively. Both boats were craned in, undergoing standard pre-sailing checks. Electronic and hydraulic technicians focused on the Red boat's mainsail control systems from the port cockpit, particularly the mainsheet system. The team docked out at 11:30hrs.

The Red boat hoisted the M1-3 LE mainsail and J3-2 OD jib, while the Black boat remained in One Design mode all day, hoisting the M1-3 OD mainsail (Jeddah Preliminary Regatta branding removed) and J3-3 OD jib. Crew combinations remained the same.

Stint 1 (11:55hrs – 12:10hrs, 13-15kts 170° - 12:10hrs): The yachts sailed a short upwind course with two tacks to the start line, then paused to adjust settings.

Stint 2 (12:15hrs – 12:40hrs, 13-15kts 170° - 12:10kts): The Red boat set off on a quick upwind downwind warmup, while the Black boat took an additional five minutes working onboard before joining. In sync, both sailed a short downwind, then upwind, with the Red boat initially showing better VMG.

Stint 3 (12:50hrs – 13:05hrs, 13-15.5kts 190° at 12:50hrs, 10-14kts 200° @ 13:10hrs): The two boats sailed parallel on a long downwind, with two gybes performed on each boat. The Black boat showed better control, while the Red boat nearly spun out during a rounding up at the end. The crews swapped boats, and the OD J3 jibs were exchanged with OD J2 jibs due to decreasing wind.

Stint 4 (13:35hrs – 14:00hrs, 8-10kts 205° at 13:35hrs): The session involved long upwind stretches on each tack, then downwind, often changing between high and low mode. Both boats then sailed to the course start line, with the Red boat swapping to the new J2-3 LE jib.

Stint 5 (14:10hrs – 14:40, 9-12.5kts 205° at 14:10hrs): A one lap race was sailed on the 1nm course. The Red boat started a couple seconds early at the pin end, bearing up and down quickly in attempt to slow down. Meanwhile the Black boat started a few seconds late at the committee, with the Red boat tacking and ducking behind Black to clear OCS penalty . The Black boat controlled the upwind tacking battle, and extended its lead downwind as both boats have a bad gybe, perhaps in a lull, touch and go for the Black boat, touch down for the Red boat. The Black boat re-joined the Red boat after crossing the finish line and both sail downwind to the base in sync comparing/commissioning the new jib.

The team docked in at 15:00hrs, completing their second trip to Jeddah. The team spent three and a half hours on the water, of which 110 minutes were spent sailing. 36 manoeuvres were observed of the Red boat, with an 89% fully foiling rate.

Crew: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin, Nico Charbonnier, Dean Barker, Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey, Jason Waterhouse, Lucien Cujean

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 x2 - Day 65 - December 4, 2023 - Jeddah

  • Weather: Sunny 33° C
  • Wind Strength: 9-15kts
  • Wind Direction: 170°-205°
  • Sea State: 0.5mtr reducing to 0.3mtr
  • Crane In: 0940hrs - 1005hrs Dock Out: 1130hrs
  • Dock In: 1500hrs Crane out: 1515/1545hrs
  • Total Tacks: 21 - Fully foiling: 20; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 15 - Fully foiling: 12; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 1

Additional Images:

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