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Cup Spy Jan 19-20: Two full on days in Jeddah - Two teams cancel sailing in Barcelona

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 21 Jan 01:17 GMT 21 January 2024
Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 - Day 69 - January 20, 2023 - Jeddah © Alex Carabi / America's Cup

In Jeddah on January 19, the Swiss had a third day of two-boat testing in AC40s, without issues, and similarly on the next day. In Barcelona, on January 19, two teams rigged up and launched in Barcelona, but cancelled after going on the water and checking the wind and sea state.

What happened in the Cup - January 19 - 20, 2024:

  • Emirates Team New Zealand - No report from January 20. They had an excellent session in top end conditions and 1metre seas on Friday, January 19 in Auckland, reported here.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing - Sailed their two AC40s off Jeddah
  • American Magic - Set up to sail their AC75, off Barcelona but cancelled.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - No Report
  • INEOS Britannia - Set up to sail the AC40s off Barcelona but cancelled
  • Orient Express Racing Team - No report.

AC37 Joint Recon Team Reports:

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40x2 - Day 69 - January 20, 2024 - Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out their AC40-7 (Black) and AC40-4 (Red) at 08:45hrs and 09:05hrs respectively.

Crew combinations changed from yesterday, with Arnaud Psarofaghis and Maxime Bachelin helming the Red boat, Phil Robertson and Nico Charbonnier helming the Black boat.

The yachts were craned in by 09:30hrs and routine systems checks were conducted. A hydraulics tech was observed working on the Black boat, focusing on HMI systems. Shortly after a rigger worked on the shrouds, at the chainplate, in the starboard cockpit of the same boat. Divers were also seen in the water with a measuring tape checking the water depth, possibly indicating that the foils are contacting the seabed.

One Design mainsails were prepared on both yachts, and the J2-3 LE on the Red boat. The J2-2 LE was carried onto the Black boat right before 12:30hrs dockout.

Stint 1 (13:05hrs - 13:30hts) Sailing started at 13:05hrs from the mouth of the Obhur Creek. Two long warm-up laps of split tacks and gybes were performed. The Red boat executed 32 manoeuvres, with one gybe being touch and go. The Black boat had a hard touch down during a gybe but recovered quickly. The team took a five minute pause, during which jib clew settings were adjusted.

Stint 2 (13:35hrs - 14:05hrs, 12-15kts 305 degrees @ 13:35hrs, 15-19kts 295 degrees @ 14:00hrs) The wind sea state started increasing progressively. Start 1 saw the Black boat entered on port and the Red boat on starboard, with Red abandoning after entering too early. Start 2 saw the Red boat start alone, while Black did not participate. Start 3 had both boats entering cleanly, with Red recovering from a big touch and go gybe with a minute to go. Both started on time, Black to leeward, Red to windward, crossing over Black on the first tack. Start 4 was closely fought; both boats looked early on approach, with Red sailing high and Black low to correct their timing. Black starts to leeward, red to windward.

Following this stint, both boats drop J2 jibs, with Red hoisting the J3-2 LE and Black hoisting J3-3 OD.

Stint 3 (14:20hrs - 14:40hrs, 15-19.5kts 295 degrees @ 14:20hrs) Course is set to 300 degrees. The teams continued with a short free warm-up using the J3 jibs. During Start 6, the Red boat entered on port with a gybe touchdown before the entry. Black looked to start a second early while the Red boat started on time. The Red boat stopped immediately after the start to change GoPros and the bowsprit windex.

Stint 4 (14:45hrs - 15:15hrs, 14-17kts 305 degrees @ 15:10hrs) Works on the Red boat continued while the Black boat began upwind/downwind free practice at 14:45. The Red boat joined sailing at 14:50. Start 7 had Red entering on port and Black on starboard; Red started to leeward 1 second late, as Black touched down briefly on the line, with Red on top after the first tack. Start 8 saw Red enter on port and Black entering on starboard 2-3 seconds late.

Both started neck and neck, perhaps a touch over, as Black tacked off immediately and Red following shortly after. Start 9 saw Red enter on port and Black on starboard, both on time. A good fight followed, with Red luffing Black hard, both then peeling away as Black fell off foil allowing a clear start for Red, 3-4s late. A 15 minute pause allowed for both boats to change batteries and debrief with their respective chase boats.

Stint 5 (15:30hrs - 15:00hrs, 15-19.5kts 310 degrees @ 15:30hrs) Start 9 led to a two lap race. Red entered on port, Black on starboard. The Red boat had touched down before attempting a manoeuvre, allowing the Black boat to start alone on time. Black dominated the first lap, rounding the leeward gate with two boards down. Red attempted to close some distance by rounding with one board down, though not the cleanest rounding. Red split again at the top gate, but could not close the gap.

The race ended with Black crossing the finish line first and Red touching down on the last gybe to the finish. The team then sailed back to base and ended the sailing day.

Sails were dropped by 16:00hrs, same as the previous day. Racing today was not as consistently competitive as the previous day. The boats docked in at 16:10hrs after spending three and a half hours on the water with 135 minutes of sailing time. A total of 111 manoeuvres were observed, with a 95% fully foiling rate.

Crew: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin, Nico Charbonnier, Phil Robertson, Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey, Jason Waterhouse, Nico Rolaz

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40x2 - Day 69 - January 20, 2024 - Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

  • Weather: 31C degrees. Sunny
  • Wind Strength 12-198kts
  • Wind Direction: 295 degrees - 310 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.3mtr NW
  • Distance sailed:
  • Sailing time:
  • Session duration:
  • Crane In: 09000/0930hrs Dock Out: 1230hrs
  • Dock In: 1610hrs Crane out: 1630hrs/1650hrs
  • Total Tacks: 65 - Fully foiling: 65; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 46 - Fully foiling: 41; Touch & Go: 4; Touch Down: 1

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40x2 - Day 68 - January 19, 2024 - Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Alinghi Red Bull Racing commenced their third day in Jeddah with the AC40-7 (Black) co-helmed by Arnaud Psarofaghis and Bryan Mettraux and AC40-4 (Red) co-helmed by Phil Robertson and Maxime Bachelin, being rolled out at 08:40hrs and 09:05hrs respectively.

No notable work was carried out other than standard system checks in the morning. The HMIs on the Red boat were repaired overnight after the damage incurred the previous day. OD mainsails and J2 OD jibs were prepared on both boats ahead of 12:00 dockout.

Both boats were towed behind a single chase boat, testing for a Red Bull marketing stunt. Crew combinations remained the same as the previous day.

Stint 1 (12:40hrs - 13:20hrs, 8-11kts from 290 degrees @ 12:40hrs) The session started with the Black boat sailing from 12:45hrs and the Red boat joining at 12:50hrs. Initially, Black flew consistently while Red struggled but improved as the breeze soon picked up. The stint included a long upwind of split tacks, then free to compete up to the windward stationary chase boat. Starboard rounding and a downwind with split gybes, followed by a short gybing duel. Following a round up, both boats sailed upwind on port to the race course, switching windward/leeward positions and sailing in high/low modes.

Stint 2 (13:35hrs - 13:45hrs, 11-14kts from 285 degrees @ 13:35hrs) The course was set to 285 degrees. Start 1 of pre-start practice saw the Black boat enter on port and Red on starboard. Red forced Black to duck behind, leading to a close call and possible penalty. Red started on time, Black abandoned.

Stint 3 (13:50hrs - 14:10hrs, 12-15.5kts from 285 degrees @ 13:55hrs) Starts 2 to 4 saw Black entering on port and Red on starboard. Red won the Start 2 in a clean start. In the third pre-start, Red touched down in a gybe to the start, allowing black to get a clear start on time. Red starts 30 seconds late. In start 4, Red chased black within three boat lengths, but temporarily lost flight in the dirty air 15 seconds to the start. Black gets clear start.

Stint 4 (14:20hrs - 14:50hrs, 14-18kts from 285 degrees @ 14:20hrs) Start 5 saw Red boat enter on port 10 seconds late, as both boats approach early to the line and both tack at the last moment. The Black boat lifted out of water and touched down hard, but saved the capsize, as Red started on time.

Start 6 / Race 1(2 laps), was closely contested. Red enters on port, black on starboard. Black started slightly ahead to leeward, as Red tacked off immediately. A close fight to the windward gate saw Red roll over Black as they rounded to port and overtook on the downwind. Red rounded leeward gate to port a couple boat lengths ahead, both boats with two boards down. Black was able to lift the windward foil slightly earlier and kept Red in close proximity. Red controlled the upwind and rounded to port, as Black split off and rounded to starboard. Red controlled downwind, but Black crossed behind Red on the final approach to the finish and sailed to the starboard end of the finish line, which was strongly biased, while Red overshot the lay line, then dropping the windward foil to push for the line. A very close finish, the race winner was unclear.

Stint 5 (15:05 - 15:25, 14-18kn 295 degrees @ 15:05) Start 7, Black entered on port, red entered on starboard. Both cross the line on time, Black to leeward, Red to windward. Red crossed over on the first tack, as both boats then turned back for another start.

Start 8 / Race 2 (1 lap): Black entered on port, Red entered on starboard. Red held Black above the start line on the starboard side, before turning down to start. Red started 4s late, Black started 9s late. Red controlled the race from start to finish. A poor rounding from Black at the leeward gate caused them to touch down, ending the race.

Stint 6 (15:35 - 15:55) With the J3 OD dropped on the Red boat and replaced with the J2-3 LE, the team carried out a short stint of sail testing against the Black boat using the J3-3 OD jib. Both boats performed a short upwind/downwind stint, before pausing briefly to adjust the jib sheet position on the clew, then sailing upwind towards the base on port tack, switching windward and leeward positions. The performance differences were marginal.

Sails were dropped by 16:00hrs in the Obhur Creek and the boats were craned out by 16:50hrs. The team spent four hours on the water, with 140 minutes of sailing time. A total of 100 manoeuvres were observed, with an impressive 97% fully foiling manoeuvre rate.

Crew: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin, Nico Charbonnier, Phil Robertson, Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey, Jason Waterhouse, Nico Rolaz

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40x2 - Day 68 - January 19, 2024 - Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

  • Weather: 29C degrees. Sunny
  • Wind Strength 11-18kts
  • Wind Direction: 285 degrees - 295 degrees
  • Sea State: 0.3 - 0.6mtr
  • Distance sailed:
  • Sailing time:
  • Session duration:
  • Crane In: 0840/0925hrs Dock Out: 1200hrs
  • Dock In: 1610hrs Crane out: 1625hrs/1650hrs
  • Total Tacks: 56 - Fully foiling: 55; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 44 - Fully foiling: 42; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 1

INEOS Britannia - AC40x2 - Day 21 - January 19, 2024 - Barcelona

Team INEOS Britannia rolled out their AC40(a) Athena at 06.20 am and their second AC40(b) Sienna at 06:58 am. Both boats were craned to the water at 06:58 and 07:35, respectively, on full one-design configuration.

Normal shore-team routine activities took place.

Once both boats were rigged and ready with most sailors already changed and ready to dock out, at 08:35 the team decided to cancel the session for the day, probably forced by the weather conditions.

Sebastian Peri Brusa - Recon on INEOS Britannia

American Magic - AC75 - Day 69 - January 19, 2024 - Barcelona

NYYC American Magic's hopes of closing the week off with an early morning sailing session aboard their second generation AC75 Patriot were dashed today when a lumpy and confused sea state with waves up to 1.5 metres made any meaningful testing/training untenable.

The team had rolled Patriot out on time at 0720 and the boat was rigged and launched by 0750hrs. But, after a sortie outside the breakwater by Tom Slingsby and Trevor Burd in one of the team ribs, the pair reported that although the wind was no more than 10 kts the sea state was not viable and the decision to abandon sailing for the day was made at shortly before 0900hrs.

Working in the rain the shore crew quickly got the boat ready for craning and - despite some unstablity while it was in the air - the boat landed on its cradle at 0920hrs. No sailing is scheduled during the weekend with the next possible sailing day for the American team being Monday January 22.

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. Its format is intended to give Sail-World readers a snapshot of all teams' progress on a given day or period.

Additional Images:

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