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Cup Spy Feb 1: Cup teams start new programs. ETNZ pull up short again with foil issue

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 2 Feb 02:34 GMT 2 February 2024
Luna Rossa - AC40 - Day 117 - February 1, 2024 - Barcelona © Ivo Rovira / America's Cup

Teams have settled into what looks to be their February work and testing program, with three teams running a combination of two-boat testing and race practice. The Kiwis had uncharacteristic wing foil control issues for the second day. The Swiss continue with their AC75 program. No report from Orient Express Racing.

Sail-World apologizes for the length of this report.

What happened in the Cup - February 1, 2024:

  • INEOS Britannia - The British team continued in a variation of their program sailed on Wednesday. They started the session doing speed testing on a custom design jib design. They then held eight practice starts and races - shifting to match racing their AC40s against each other in similar format racing to that which will be used in the Louis Vuitton Cup series starting in August.
  • American Magic - Sailed their two AC40s against each other sailing long legs, doing speed testing probably with a focus on sailing technique and boat set-up. The session ended with a short tacking upwind match race back to the harbour mouth where a short windward leeward loop was conducted to finish the day.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing - The Swiss are now the only team sailing an AC75. They are the only team sailing using cyclors to provide hydraulic pressure/power. Today's session out of Barcelona involved systems testing, pre-start practice, and a race practice opposed by their Catalyst 45 chase boat.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand - Experienced more control system issues for the second successive day. The issue appears to be centred around the port foil and its control system. Today the team sailed in vigorous conditions that were well within their sailing capability. The cause has not been revealed, aside from the view that the Recon Team believe it was an issue with control systems on their new test foil (on the port foil arm). The team was quite dismissive of the issue in the dockside, despite having two crew and crawl out onto the foil. Unfortunately fresh winds in Auckland on Friday have meant another sailing day lost this week, and with New Zealand heading into a long holiday weekend, it seems unlikely that they will resume before Tuesday.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli - Got back into action with their two boat program involving their detuned LEQ12 and their AC40 sailing in one design mode and gear. They sailed 12 starts/practice race legs/races - which was another good day for the Italian team,
  • Orient Express Racing Team - No report, and they were not spotted in any shots taken by other teams, however their social media, posted the cryptic message a few hours ago: "Stay tuned, Orient Express Racing Team is getting ready to go top gear!"

AC37 Joint AC37 Recon Team Reports:

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) - LEQ12 - Day 117 - February 1, 2024 - Cagliari

Launch: The Italian team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli rolled out their AC40 (White) at 8:40hrs and their LEQ12(Red) at 9:05hrs, stepped masts and craned in respectively at the 9:00hrs and 9:30hrs.

Dockout was scheduled at 10:30hrs, sailors swapped between boats they used on the previous day.

Wind: Out on the bay, the pressure looked lighter than forecasted, 7-9kts from 315° with flat water.

Sail Selection: SM1-2 was paired to the J1-1 on Red and the M1 OD was paired to J1 OD on White.

Race Testing: Red boat was towed up on port tack further windward compared to White. Both boats engaged quite distanced matching manoeuvres of opponent sailing upwind and downwind while only bottom marks were being set up. The yachts seemed to run drills similar to prestarts before practicing these officially. The pressure seemed to be shifting slightly with the same intensity to the right, from 325° now.

The Prestart 1 was observed at 11:20hrs with Red on port and White on starboard entries. After both yachts sailed towards the upper right box portion, Red seemed to have a slightly better time on distance and more speed on the line closer to the committee boat. Both yachts sailed half of upwind leg and bore away to resume prestart practice.

During the Prestart 2, Red seemed to be in control and have the upper hand at the line.

Prestart 3 began with White on port and Red on starboard entries. White sailed higher in the box and began to chase Red. Red looked early and slowed down with two boards, White crossed the line with higher boat speed and sailed away. The pressure shifted further to the right, measured at 9-11kts from 335°.

Prestart 4 looked more aggressive coming on the line, with White pushing Red, killing time and sailing in Red's wake, which led this start faster on the line. The yachts engaged in a tacking duel on the upwind leg with Red forcing White to tack to stay clear. However, on the second cross, the lead changed, and Red was behind White.

Prestart 5 - the yachts switched entries and White had port entry now. The yachts separated inside the box and White managed to push Red down the towards the pin and force it to tack on high mode once started.

Prestarts 6 & 7 were dominated by Red as White came off its foils - losing speed after manoeuvring. Then, the LEQ12 was decelerated after approx 70 minutes of foiling, and a longer break followed for lunch.

Prestart 8 - the breeze seemed to be decreasing and Prestart 8 was interrupted due to both yachts falling off their foils.

Prestart 9 - the LEQ12 seemed to have an issue exiting a manoeuvre requiring shore crew to dive in hatches with a tool box.

Prestart 10 - Red was towed up again and the prestart was live with White on port and Red on starboard entry. As both yachts approached the line evenly, Red yacht tacked to port tack and an upwind leg followed triggering a short tacking battle.

Prestrat 11 - White had again port entry. As both yachts sailed toward the upper right box area, Red managed a better time on distance and more boat speed on the line leading on the upwind race. Then both yachts were brought off their foils for a short break.

Prestart 12 got underway at 14:05hrs, the drill took place with Red on port entry. After a quite aggressive battle approaching the starting line killing time, Red started off faster. When the startline was crossed, several lead changes took place with White in front on the first cross, Red on the second, before the yachts split and converged again to stop.

Overall - generally speaking, the boats looked quite good, even in terms of boat speed on this light-air day. However, the daily focus was once again on prestart fight where the much easier and quicker manoeuvrability of White worked to its advantage. The day was called for the LEQ12 with approx 144 minutes foiling time and approx. 48 tacks and 39 gybes [Michele Melis AC Recon].

Crew: Ruggero Tita, Marco Gradoni, Francesco Bruni, Jimmy Spithill, Umberto Mollineris, Andrea Tesel,

Session Statistics: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (LRPP) - LEQ12 - Day 117 - February 1, 2024 - Cagliari

  • Weather: Cloudy 13°C
  • Wind Strength 7-9kts
  • Wind Direction: 315°-340°
  • Sea State: Flat
  • Crane In: 0845hrs|0905hrs Dock Out: 1030hrs
  • Dock In: 1440hrs
  • Total Tacks: 48 - Fully foiling: 41; Touch & Go: 5; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 39 - Fully foiling: 34; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 2

American Magic - AC75 - Day 85 - February 1, 2024 - Barcelona

Launch: More perfect close to perfect conditions prevailed in Barcelona today allowing the NYYC American Magic team to put together what looked like a second highly productive day of two-boat testing using their pair of AC40s. Both boats were rigged and launched by midday and by 1230hrs the two crews had left the dock.

Sails - were hoisted inside the harbour by 1255hrs with America on a C5 mainsail and a J1.5 C1 headsail while Magic was on a C4 mainsail and a J1.5 C2 headsail.

Wind - the boats left the harbour at 1300hrs and on a super flat sea and an 11-knot breeze from 200 °

Race testing - Phase 1 -the two AC40s set off on a 10-minute downwind run with one foiling gybe. After a brief stop the two boats completed a single 10 minute upwind / downwind lap with one foiling tack and two foiling gybes before stopping to change headsails: America J2 C5 / Magic J2 C4.

Phase 2 - A 10 minute straightline upwind leg on starboard followed with America appearing to have a marginal speed and height advantage. The two boats stopped at 1400hrs: Magic only for five minutes before setting off on a 10 minute windward / leeward lap; while the crew on America set about dropping the mainsail to swap it to a C2. Dropping the sail appeared to be an issue and the whole process took close to 45 minutes.

Phase 3 - after 15 minutes more setup on both boats the pair were airborne again on a 20 minute flight that featured a short upwind and then very long downwind (just one foiling gybe) and ended at a spot around 10 miles from the harbour entrance. This stop lasted 40 minutes and we observed a technician with a laptop go down below on both boats.

Phase 4 - The pair set off again at 1600 heading upwind for 25 minutes with just one foiling tack. A five minute break followed before the final session of the day.

Phase 5 – a short tacking upwind match race back to the harbour mouth where a short windward leeward loop was conducted to finish the day (see video below). America came out the comfortable winner of this battle however the boats split apart considerably at times so the advantage could well have been windshift related.

Time was called at 1700 with the two boats back on the dock by 1730hrs.

A final sailing session for this week has been scheduled for tomorrow Friday February 2.

Report from Justin Chisholm - AC37 Joint Recon Team

Crew: Tom Slingsby, Lucas Calabrese, Paul Goodison, Harry Melges; Riley Gibbs, Andrew Campbell, Severin Gramm, Kyle Langford, Michael Menninger

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC40x2 - Day 85 - February 1, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Cloudy 15° C
  • Wind Strength: 10-14kts
  • Wind Direction: 220°
  • Sea State: Flat-light chop
  • Crane In: 1106hrs|1150hrs Dock Out: 1227hrs
  • Dock In: 1730hrs Crane out: 1815hrs
  • Total Tacks: 40 - Fully foiling: 40; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 5 - Fully foiling: 4; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 115 - February 1, 2024 - Barcelona

Alinghi Red Bull Racing's AC75, Boat Zero, was rolled out at 10:00, ahead of a day of testing, pre-start practice, and a three lap race versus the chase boat. Standard checks were carried out, with more attention to the Foil Control System (FCS) and mast rotation testing.

The team docked out at 12:30hrs, with the M2-2R mainsail and J2-2L jib initially hoisted in port, while the J3-1R and J4-1R jibs were carried on the chase boat. Notably, Adolfo Carrau (Design Coordinator), Yves Courvoisier (R&D Engineer) and Arthur Rozand (Performance Prediction Engineer) followed the day from the Catalyst chase boat.

Phase 1 (13:00hrs - 13:15hrs) - The yacht set off from the port entrance, sailing a concise downwind/upwind/downwind warm-up, transitioning through manoeuvres and a leeward mark rounding. The decision to switch from the J2 to the J4-1R jib was prompted by the increasing wind.

Phase 2 (13:30hrs - 13:52hrs - Wind: 10-14.5kts 210°) - focused on refining round-up and bearaway maneuvers, revealing slight inconsistencies in port-side executions, touching down on a bearaway and two touch-and-go round ups. The team practiced two board down sailing, bearing away then quickly rounding up, as well as slowing the boat right down while keeping it on foil.

Phase 3 (13:58hrs – 14:30hrs, 9-13.5kts 205°) - a repeat of a test seen yesterday: a long stretch sailing straight, dropping and lifting the starboard foil, both upwind and downwind. The upwind leg was 2.5nm while downwind was 4nm. This was followed by more sailing on foil at low speed with two boards down.

Phase 4 (14:34hrs – 14:44hrs, 10-14.4kts 205°) - the team sailed a long upwind back upwind to the start line, after which a battery exchange was carried out. The full cyclor team swapped out at 14:50hrs for fresh legs for the remaining three phases.

Phase 5 (15:10hrs – 15:40hrs, 8-12kts 210°) - three practice starts were carried out, with the yacht entering on port, and the chase boat entering on starboard. A touch down tack in the second start saw them start 20s late, as the wind slightly decreased. The J4 was exchanged to the J3-1R, ahead of the last phase.

Phase 6 (15:53hrs – 16:30hrs, 8-12kt 210° @ 15:55hrs) - start 4 saw the yacht entering the start on port, continued into a three lap race versus the chase boat. A tacking battle was simulated, as multiple cover manoeuvres were observed. A single upwind mark was set at a bearing of 215° from the start-line, with a course length of 1.5 NM. Two roundings were to starboard, the last to port.

Following a comprehensive day, sails were lowered by 16:40hrs, concluding over four hours on the water. 145 minutes were spent sailing, during which 59 manoeuvres were observed, with an 88% fully foiling rate.

Crew:Sailing: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin, Nico Charbonnier, Yves Detrey, Bryan Mettraux, Lucien Cujean. Power: Théry Schir, Arthur Cevey, Nils Theuninck, Nico Stahlberg, Barnabé Delarze, Nico Stahlberg, Franco Noti Augustin Maillefer, Paul Jacquot

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - Day 115- February 1, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 17°C. Cloudy
  • Wind Strength 8-14.5kts
  • Wind Direction: 205° - 210°
  • Sea State: 0.6mtr
  • Crane In: 1035hrs Dock Out: 1230hrs
  • Dock In: 1650hrs Crane out: 1720hrs
  • Total Tacks: 33 - Fully foiling: 27; Touch & Go: 5; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 20 - Fully foiling: 25; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0

INEOS Britannia - AC40-2 and AC40-10 - Day 29 - February 1, 2024 - Barcelona

Preliminaries: INEOS Britannia launched their two AC40s, Sienna and Athena in one-design foils´ configuration, at 10.28hrs and 10.45hrs, respectively. They had been left with their masts up and out of the shed overnight. Normal routine activities were performed before docking out at 12.30hrs, as planned.

Sails: One-design mainsails were hoisted on both boats at 12:35hrs. Immediately after, AC40(B) hoisted the LEQ12_J2-4 jib, while AC40 (A)saw a one-design J2 come up at 12:44hrs while heading out of the harbour.

Wind: Similar conditions to the day before: - a south-southwesterly sea-breeze of 10 to 14 knots of intensity, dying towards the end of the day; combined with a flat sea-state, prevailed during the session.

Race testing: After warming up for twenty minutes, at 13:20hrs the two-boat speed-testing training started, performing two long upwinds and downwinds, switching sides and maintaining a small lateral distance in between boats.

The first upwind-downwind was executed with the mentioned sails, while before the start of the second upwind at 14:10hrs, the LEQ12_J2-4 was replaced for a one-design J2 on AC40(b), after a short break.

On both downwind legs, there was extreme parity in between boats. However, when sailing upwind on starboard tack, on the two upwinds, either being to windward or to leeward, AC40(a) was slightly faster no matter which of the two jibs AC40(b) was sailing with. In contrast, on port tack differences were minimal.

At 14:50hrs boats A and B were back at the racecourse area to start their two-boat racing practice. A total of eight starts using marks occurred, with both boats switching sides for the entries on multiple times.

Race 1: The first race started at 15:02 with an even start. Athena (A) to windward and Sienna (B) to leeward with a 5 boat-length lateral gap. A was able to tack on the bow of B on the first cross and control the race from there on. After four tacks A rounded the top left gate on the lead. A did three gybes on the downwind and rounded the right gate looking upwind, maintaining their six second lead. On the following cross, A had extended their lead and the race was abandoned halfway of the second upwind.

Race 2: A started to leeward of B, forcing the other boat to tack. On the first cross A was ahead by a considerable margin, and then the race was abandoned halfway of the first upwind leg.

Race 3: B fell-off from the foils when 15 seconds were remaining to the start. A started on time on the line. Then the race was abandoned right after the start.

In between Races 3 & 4 there was a 20-minute break from 15:30hrs till 15:50hrs in which a batteries replacement took place and boat B quickly dropped and re-hoisted their one-design J2 to adjust something on the top. Race 4: B approached the start coming in on a close-hauled course from far away, arriving late to the line. A was able to swing ahead of B and start ahead. A stayed ahead, covering B the entire first upwind and rounded the top right gate with a 10 second lead. On the downwind B that was behind got a puff on the left side (looking upwind) of the course and closed the gap, being bow to bow on the first downwind cross. B had to head up to cross behind A who came on starboard. Both boats headed to the left gate (looking upwind). A rounded ahead but had a poor mark rounding falling off their foils, and B sailed past A on their leeward side. At that moment the race was abandoned.

Race 5: Both boats started on opposite ends of the line, A at the starboard end and B close to the pin end. A was ahead on the first cross by three boat lengths and extended. The race was abandoned halfway of the first upwind.

Race 6: Both boats had an evened start with B to leeward and A to windward. After the first tack B was able to hold the line just to windward of A, despite the small gap in between boats, all the way till the starboard layline. One more tack and B rounded ahead the top left mark, while A had to do one extra tack to round the opposite gate. B extended on the downwind and rounded the right gate looking upwind after doing three gybes with a 4-second lead. A few meters after the gate rounding, B continued to be ahead and then the race was stopped.

Race 7 - A started to windward of B, but with a very small lateral gap. B headed up and forced A to tack. That generated a big split in between the two boats sailing to opposite sides of the course. B found better breeze on the left side and crossed ahead of A. B rounded in the lead the top left gate with a 15-second gap, and maintained the distance on the downwind rounding the right leeward gate looking upwind, after three gybes. Then the race was abandoned.

Race 8 - The last race had an even start with both boats close to the pin end, B to leeward and A to windward. The parity continued the entire upwind leg, arriving almost together at the top gate. Then both boats headed towards the port.

End of Day: At 17:00hrs both boats entered the port, lowered their sails and docked at 17:16hrs. Boat B was the first of the two to be craned out of the water at 17:40hrs, A followed. One more very productive day on the water for INEOS Britannia

Sebastian Peri Brusa – Recon on INEOS Britannia

Session Statistics: INEOS Britannia - AC40-2 and AC40-10 - Day 29 - February 1, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Part cloudy, 17°.
  • Wind Strength 8.7-3.3kts
  • Wind Direction: 195°- 210°
  • Sea State: 0.41mtr Flat
  • Crane In: 1020|1045hrs Dock Out: 1230hrs
  • Dock In: 1715hrs Crane out: 1740hrs
  • Total Tacks: 51 - Fully foiling: 49; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 22 - Fully foiling: 20; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 1

Crew: AC-2: Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott, Bleddyn Mon, Leigh McMillan. AC-10: Dylan Fletcher, Ben Cornish, Youth Squad member, Luke Parkinson

Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 - Day 62 - February 1, 2024 - Auckland

Emirates Team New Zealand suffered a breakdown for the second time this week, with an issue on their port wing foil which is believed to be the latest test foil. Today's issue was brushed away by skipper Peter Burling, however the loss of time at the point where final decisions have to be made with signoff of foils that will be used in the Kiwi's Cup Defence in Barcelona in October this year.

A stronger, but typically puffy, southwest breeze blew across the gulf today. Wind speed in knots was into the high teens with gusts into the 20’s and meant Emirates Team New Zealand hoisted the smaller J3 jib and M2 Main off North Head after docking out at 1000hrs.

After hoisting, the team sailed across toward Mission Bay before bearing away and screaming downwind passed Kohi and St Heliers before gybing down near Browns Island. They then sailed for a portion on port tack, back towards Rangitoto Island, before coming to an impromptu stop. It seemed that the guys onboard noticed something out of place on the port foil, and some of the team went over to investigate, including the chase boat, which pulled up nice and close to have a look and a chat. From what we could tell, it seemed to be something towards the outboard tip on, or near, the leading edge.

It was evident the team was not happy with something, as the next manoeuvre was a bear away with both foils down and they proceeded to sail downwind like this all the way passed Browns Island into what’s known as the ‘Back Paddock’ training zone, or the western end of Course E from the 2021 America's Cup. Here, they surprisingly sailed a long starboard tack on the port foil without too much issue. However, at the end of the test, they glided to a slow stop without executing a race manoeuvre, which is a rarity for ETNZ.

Once again, they sailed a downwind leg with both foils in the water, really trying to nurse the issue on the port foil.

Nearly at Waiheke Island, the team finally turned upwind and from here, sailed a long port tack all the way back to Narrow Neck beach just past North Head. It was upper range conditions with gusts well over 20 knots.

The team looked fairly stable and could be seen sailing some lower and high flight modes, and seemed to be really pressing at times and sailing some faster angles. It would be very interesting to see the VMG numbers in these conditions as, from the Recon boat, it always looks as though they are concentrating on lower, faster modes rather than higher, slower modes.

No more manoeuvres were made today and after what was a short and sweet 1.5 hour session, the team came to a stop in the lee of Narrow Neck beach and opted to drop the sails.

Following the issue yesterday on port and another one today, the team would have felt less than happy. Although, by delivering the boat downwind with dual foils and keeping loads to a minimum, they were at least able to take a little more data from the starboard foil and the modes sailed on port tack on the long upwind.

We tried to question Peter Burling after sailing, on some of the issues out there today. He gave us a little insight into the day and some of the things the team is planning going forward.

[AC Recon team: Sam Thom and Andrew Burgess]

Crew: Peter Burling, Nathan Outteridge, Andy Maloney, Blair Tuke

Session Statistics: Emirates Team New Zealand - LEQ12 - Day 62 - February 1, 2024 - Auckland

  • Weather: 23 °C Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 16-19kts gusting 26kts
  • Wind Direction: 235-240°
  • Sea State: 0.2mtr to 1.0mtr
  • Crane In: 0914hrs Dock Out: 1000hrs
  • Dock In: 1200hrs Crane out: 1220hrs
  • Sailing time: 120 minutes
  • Sailing distance: 38nm (70.5km)
  • Total Tacks: 54 - Fully foiling: 53; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 24 - Fully foiling: 24; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

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. 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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