As the calendar rolled the world into 2023, the 37th America’s Cup is now just a little over twenty months away. That may seem an eternity for some, but for those competing for the oldest trophy in an international sports competition, it probably seems too near.
Teams are still testing out their Hydrofoil boat designs and systems on smaller LEQ12 (less or equal to 12 meters/39.4 feet) test foils and actual full-size AC75 (75 feet/23 meters) in various locations around the globe.
American Magic was the first to be back on the water in the new year followed by INEOS Britannia just yesterday off the coast of Mallorca. Their first foray into the water after a brief holiday break got off to a troubling start with a problem shortly after hoisting the mainsail.
The sail fell off the halyard lock with a large bang but the 4-man crew kept their wits about them (you know how superstitious sailors are; looking for any source of bad luck at sea) and after three trips up the pole, they were able to get the issue resolved.
The INEOS LEQ12 was up and foiling in a southwesterly 12-knot breeze. All told the crew made 10 foiling runs throughout the day with foiling take-off speeds ranging from 12 to 16 knots and reached 35-plus knots on downwind runs. The INEOS Britannia LEQ12 was seen foiling almost totally out of the water as it passed the Palma City waterfront to the entrance of the harbor.
AC 75 American Magic Patriot kicked off their 2023 by heading out to sea in the Gulf of Mexico in gusting winds of 16 knots and 2 to 3-foot sea conditions. The idea here is to get the veteran crew accustomed to sea conditions akin to those in Barcelona, the site of the 2024 America’s Cup.
Luna Rossa has noted that in the past 0.8-meter seas are about the max their smaller AC37 LEQ12 could handle. Luna Rossa last sailed on December 20, and there is no word from the syndicate as to when they will be back on the water in the Gulf of Cagliari.
There has been no news out of Barcelona, home to the Alinghi Red Bull syndicate and their boat is still in the shed.
Defender Emirates Team New Zealand is not scheduled to be back in the drink until January 16, as it waits for weather conditions to improve around its home base of Auckland.
Up until just this last week, there were five total entrants competing for the storied Auld Mug in Barcelona, but the new year brought a new challenge from the French K-Challenge Racing. The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron had previously accepted a challenge from the French but it was not officially announced until January 3.