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Cup Spy Feb 16-17: Brits have second battery fire - Catch AC37 Joint Recon team video

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 18 Feb 09:47 GMT 18 February 2024
INEOS Britannia - AC40 - Day 34 - February 16, 2024 - Barcelona © Paul Todd/America's Cup

Brits catch fire again. USA and Kiwis only other teams to sail

INEOS Britannia - AC40-2 and AC40-10 - Day 34 - February 16, 2024 - Barcelona

INEOS Britannia launched their two AC40s, Athena(a) and Sienna(b) in full one-design configuration at 06.43hrs and 06.58hrs, respectively; that had been left with their masts up and out of the shed overnight. The team docked out at 08.30hrs, as planned.

One-design mainsails and J2s were hoisted on both boats while heading out of the port at 08:50hrs.

Tricky conditions prevailed. Light to medium NNE winds, combined with a one-meter swell from the ENE. Close to the port the wind intensity remained under five knots, while further to the north it was much stronger, reaching up to sixteen knots close to the city of Mataro.

From 09:00hrs till 09:25hrs both boats struggled to take-off in very light winds, reason why two tow-takeoffs were performed. By 09:35hrs boats Athena and Sienna had better pressure, and the session got underway.

Athena and Sienna speed tested upwind for half an hour, on both tacks, switching sides. Small differences were identified in between boats, with Athena slightly more consistent than Sienna, while dealing with tough swell conditions, especially on port tack.

At 10:00hrs the team tried to start speed testing downwind. Immediately after, boat B nosedived and was forced to stop. The anemometer had to be re-fixed on the bowsprit, tools came along from chase boat #4 and two support team members worked inside the port side cockpit.

By 10:30hrs the problem was solved, and Athena and Sienna started a new upwind speed test, changing tacks and switching sides. In this opportunity, the same slight tendency was observed by the Recon team.

At 11:00hrs the downwind comparison followed, in difficult conditions with both boats “releasing the safe-mode” and accelerating whenever the sea-state permitted.

After sailing for five minutes, on port tack, smoke started to come out from the front hatch of Athena, which is the reason why they lowered the windward arm and headed into the wind to stop. One of the sailors went to the bow, and quickly identified there was fire inside the boat. Immediately after, two chase boats came along with fire extinguishers. The four sailors fought the fire through the front hatch with further assistance from the support team. However, with the extinguishers it seemed like it was not-enough. Sienna remained standing-by a few meters away.

Then a bilge pump came into play, to pump water inside the boat and a fire blanket was also seen somewhere around the bow. After pumping large amounts of liters inside the boat and closing all oxygen entries the situation became pretty much under control. In the middle of all that, the jib got lowered and put in one of the chase boats. All these took approximately 12 long minutes.

Once the situation was controlled, this Recon Unit was asked to follow boat Sienna all the way back to the harbor, pick up some safety elements and equipment at the base, and then head back out to further assist Atena which was being taken slowly back to shore in between two chase boats, being full of water in the inside with some flotation elements on the bow and stern.

Sienna lowered the sails outside the port at 12:15hrs and docked at 12:55hrs with no damage. Athena entered the harbor at 14:28hrs followed by the coast guard; and docked at the base at 14:45hrs where the firemen were already standing-by.

Once Athena was tied up, the firemen got in charge of removing safely the burnt batteries from the inside of the boat.

Sienna was craned out of the water at 17:00hrs, while Athena did it at 18:40hrs.

As regards the damage, no clear assessment could be done from the outside as you can see on the pictures, but the team informed us that there is severe damage in the inside and to the deck.

A tough day for INEOS Britannia, were the entire team showed professionalism and effectiveness to deal with a dangerous situation. No-one resulted injured and all sailors and shore team members are safe.

Sebastian Peri Brusa – Recon on INEOS Britannia

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

Session Statistics: INEOS Britannia - AC40-2 and AC40-10 - Day 34 - February 16, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Sunny, 16°C.
  • Wind Strength 5kts - 15kts
  • Wind Direction: 30°-40°
  • Sea State: 1.16mtr 080°
  • Crane In: 0643|0658hrs Dock Out: 0830hrs
  • Dock In: 1255hrs|1445hrs Crane out: 1700/1840hrs
  • Total Tacks: 9 - Fully foiling: 5; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 4
  • Total Gybes: 2 - Fully foiling: 1; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 1

American Magic - AC40x2 - Day 91 - February 16, 2024 - Barcelona

NYYC American Magic had a challenging day of two boat tuning due to an incalcitrant easterly breeze and a nasty, confused sea state with a steep chop of up to 0.6 metres.

Having rolled out America at 0720 and Magic at 0745 both boats were rigged and launched by 0845 - with Magic being slightly delayed by the discovery of a rudder issue that required remedying and the rudder recalibrating before the boat was cleared for launch. Two new mid-bow cameras (one each side) were observed that appeared to be trained on the foil arms. After a simultaneous dock out at 0927 the two boats rendezvoused at the harbour entrance where the mainsail on America was hoisted while an issue with the hoist on Magic required lead sailmaker Ben Newton to be brought out to the boat from the base.

With the local forecast changing with every update and causing a quandary for the team's selection of headsail three separate sails were brought on board and off again before the decision was made to start the day with the J3 C1 on America and a one design J3 on Magic. Magic was the first out of the harbour at 1020 and the crew went off for some free sailing before Magic joined them at 1030. The two boats then set off on a long upwind stint with minimal tacks. The wind was at 11 knots from 090 but with the lumpy sea state causing both crews difficulties maintaining a constant ride height there were several resulting splashdowns from each.

After turning downwind for a long fast two foiling gybe (and one touchdown) run the two boats stopped at 1105 to change headsails to a J2-4 on America and a J2-? on Magic. The wind at this point had dropped to 8 knots. With a new 10-11 knot easterly breeze arriving both boats set off again at 1135 for a windward / leeward lap that ended at 1220 as the breeze dropped away to 6-7 knots.

The Magic crew called it a day at this point and opted for a foiling tow with sails up back to the harbour. America stayed out a little longer for a short upwind and then a bear away for a fast downwind to the harbour entrance. Both boats were in the harbour by 1250 and back on the dock by 1315. No sailing is scheduled for the weekend of February 17/18.

Crew: Co-helms: Magic - Paul Goodison and Harry Melges / America: Tom Slingsby and Lucas Calabrese. Flight Controller/Trimmers: Magic: Kyle Langford and Michael Menninger / America: Riley Gibbs and Andrew Campbell

Session Statistics: American Magic - AC40x2 - Day 91 - February 16, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: Overcast 11° C
  • Wind Strength: 6-11kts
  • Wind Direction: 080° - 090°
  • Sea State: Confused chop to ).6mtrs
  • Crane In: 0740hrs|0845hrs Dock Out: 0930hrs
  • Dock In: 1315hrs Crane out: 1400hrs
  • Total Tacks: 15 - Fully foiling: 9; Touch & Go: 3; Touch Down: 3
  • Total Gybes: 10 - Fully foiling: 8; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 1

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 OD & LEQ12 - Day 79 - February 17, 2024 - Jeddah

Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailed their two AC40s, AC40-7 (Black) and AC40-4 (Red), for the third successive day as part of an expected 10-day sail testing block.

Alinghi Red Bull Racing's AC40-7 (Black) and AC40-4 (Red) were rolled out at 08:15 and 08:35, respectively. Despite the increased winds posing a challenge for setting the rigs, both boats were craned in by 09:30, and off the dock for FCS checks. The same crew combinations as previous days were maintained for today's session. The team docked out at 11:05 with full LE sail plans.

The Red boat hoisted the M1-4 LE mainsail (a light alteration was noted, with a slightly trimmed leech at the head) and J3-2 LE jib, while the Black boat opted for the M1-1 LE, noted for having less sail area in the head, alongside the J3-1 LE.

Stint 1 (11:28 - 11:40, 15-20kn 320° @ 11:30): Sailing commenced from the Obhur Creek entrance, with both boats starting downwind. However, the Red boat experienced a significant nose dive shortly after, resulting in a broken battens in the mainsail and as well as damage to the wind wand.

Stint 2 (11:55 - 12:00): While the Red boat was forced to drop sails due to the damage, the Black boat continued, sailing upwind to regroup with the Red boat.

Stint 3 (12:09 - 12:28, 18-24kn 325° @ 12:05): With the Red boat being towed back to base, the Black boat undertook an upwind/downwind session. Tacks were consistent, though gybes were less so, attributed to the aggressive short chop of 1m height and 4-5s period, which Nico Charbonnier highlighted as particularly challenging for downwind sailing.

The day concluded with the Red boat being craned out at 12:35 and the Black boat at 14:00, marking just under two hours on the water with 35 minutes of active sailing. A total of 13 maneuvers were observed of the Black boat, achieving an 85% fully foiling rate.

Crew:Co-Helms: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin, Nico Charbonnier, Dean Barker. Sail Trimmers/Flight controllers: Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey, Nico Rolaz, Jason Waterhouse.

Crew Roster: AC40-4 (Red) Starboard: Dean B + Jason W Port: Max B + Yves D AC40-7 (Black) Starboard: Arnaud P + Bryan M Port: Nico C + Nico R

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 OD & LEQ12 - Day 79 - February 17, 2024 - Jeddah

  • Weather: 24° degrees. Partly cloudy
  • Wind Strength: 15-24kts
  • Wind Direction: 320°-325°
  • Sea State: 0.8-1.2mtr
  • Crane In: 0830|0930 Dock Out: 1100hrs
  • Dock In: 1245hrs Crane out: 1400hrs
  • Total Tacks: 7 Fully foiling: 7; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0
  • Total Gybes: 6 Fully foiling: 4; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 1

Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 OD & LEQ12 - Day 80 - February 18, 2024 - Jeddah

Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailed their two AC40s, AC40-7 (Black) and AC40-4 (Red), for the successive day as part of an expected 10-day sail testing block.

AAlinghi Red Bull Racing craned in their AC40-7 (Black) at 06:50, which was left out on the forecourt overnight. The AC40-4 (Red) was rolled out at 07:00 and craned in 30 minutes later. The early start was in consideration of the stronger winds forecast for the afternoon. Full LE sail plans were prepared as well as a One Design jib on standby.

The day brought a change in the crew lineup; Jason Waterhouse stepped in for Dean Barker as the starboard helm on the Red boat, accompanied by Bryan Mettraux in the trimming seat. Nico Charbonnier took the helm on the port side with Nico Rolaz as his trimmer. The Black boat saw Arnaud Psarofaghis steering on starboard, Lucien Cujean trimming, Max Bachelin helming on port, and Yves Detrey trimming behind. The team docked out at 08:30 and hoisted sails by 08:45.

Stint 1 (08:52 - 09:12, 7-10kn 10° @ 08:55) The morning started with both boats sailing a free downwind, quickly moving into split tacks upwind.

Stint 2 (09:15 - 09:42, 8-12kn 15° @ 09:15) The team set off downwind in parallel followed by a series of split gybes and a prolonged upwind battle of split tacks, culminating at the course start.

Stint 3 (09:50 - 10:10, 6-9kn 355° @ 09:50) The wind dropped a little as it started to turn to the left, as the boats initially struggled to take off. The Black boat drilled pre-start entries, while the Red boat focused on their setup. A start was attempted but the Black boat stopped just after entering the box. Red subsequently stopped, as both boats then dropped the J2 jibs in exchange for J3s. as the wind continued to turn to the left and increase. Meanwhile the pin end start mark started to drift, prompting the team to change to Plan B – long upwind/downwinds of competitive split tacks/gybes.

Stint 4 (10:28 - 11:15, 9-12.5kn 345° @ 10:25, 11-15kn 325° @ 10:30) After a short free sail for fine-tuning, and following Red's temporary sail drop to adjust sail settings, both boats set off, engaging in competitive split tacks for almost 6NM upwind. With the chase boat sitting as a windward mark, Red pushed Black off the foils before rounding. After regrouping, both boats sailed back downwind, gybing competitively in a narrow corridor.

Stint 5 (11:36 - 12:18, 13-17kn 325° @ 11:25, 14-18kn 335° @ 12:20) Crews swapped boats for this final stint, repeating the same course as in the previous stint. Black touched down in a gybe half way down the course, with Red rejoining to finish off the gybing battle downwind.

Black came to a stop outside Obhur Creek, seemingly unable to control the jib, and subsequently dropped the sails, as the Red boat continued back to base.

The team docked in by 12:50 and both boats were craned out by 13:25. The session, lasting just over four hours, saw 155 minutes of sailing, with 127 manoeuvres observed of the Black boat, achieving an 87% fully foiling rate amidst varying wind conditions and a developing sea state from flat to a moderate chop.

Crew:Co-Helms: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin, Nico Charbonnier, Dean Barker. Sail Trimmers/Flight controllers: Bryan Mettraux, Yves Detrey, Nico Rolaz, Jason Waterhouse.

Crew Roster: AC40-4 (Red) Starboard: Dean B + Jason W Port: Max B + Yves D AC40-7 (Black) Starboard: Arnaud P + Bryan M Port: Nico C + Nico R

Session Statistics: Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC40 OD & LEQ12 - Day 80 - February 18, 2024 - Jeddah

  • Weather: 29° degrees. Sunny
  • Wind Strength: 7-18kts
  • Wind Direction: 335°-010°
  • Sea State: 0.4-0.8mtr
  • Crane In: 0655|0730 Dock Out: 0830hrs
  • Dock In: 1250hrs Crane out: 1300|1325hrs
  • Total Tacks: 83 Fully foiling: 75; Touch & Go: 6; Touch Down: 2
  • Total Gybes: 44 Fully foiling: 36; Touch & Go: 7; Touch Down: 1

Additional Images:

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