The upward trajectory continues for Alinghi Red Bull Racing after another superb sailing performance in Barcelona springtime conditions aboard the heavily modified BoatZero. The cyclors were earning their keep, buried away aero-style in the very guts of the AC75 whilst the new communications loop between helms, flight controllers and trimmers looks to be paying dividends. This is a very different prospect we are looking at. A layout almost designed by sailors for sailors, the reduced numbers are making a big difference to initial flight and foil time overall. This has been a superb upgrade.
Barcelona played its part today too, serving up flat waters and a stronger than expected afternoon ‘Garbi’ from the southwest that faded at times before filling to the brim at a healthy 16 knots. These are the conditions that the sailors love and watching Alinghi Red Bull Racing, you get a very strong sense that everything is moving forward positively and with an intense focus. The team look settled in the city. The support teams are on their A game, and all round there’s a head of steam building.
What this is all translating into is sheer performance on the water. Over 50 nautical miles covered today in a sailing session that lasted just under three hours at absolute warp speed with 25 manoeuvres – although the concentration looked to be on power sailing both upwind and down. Remember, this is only the second day of sailing for the newly configured BoatZero, still very much the ‘commissioning phase’ so, understandably, the team are still figuring out optimum settings. After an hour of controlled effort at the extreme, the sailors paused to adjust the clew headboard before the wind dropped and also took time-out for lunch.
There then followed a late afternoon session of pure gold as the Swiss legged off on a lengthy downwind throwing in 10 non-stop gybes with impressive accuracy before heading back upwind on the flat water and completing four tacks before calling it a day at the harbour entrance. Dynamite sailing. Concise. Accurate. Compelling. Just getting better and better and the crew-work looks far slicker with the new set-up, self-tacking jib and roles clearly defined.
Augustin Maillefer, one of the new breed of cyclors brought into Alinghi Red Bull Racing by way of representing Switzerland at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games in the quadruple sculls rowing gave a great insight into what it means to be a part of the Power Group in the team saying: “Yeah it was very nice conditions. It still can be shaky; we are going fast so it can be shaky sometimes but we’re going very fast, and it feels quite smooth despite the speed which is quite impressive. And in the tacks and gybes, you can really feel the pressure during the curves. You feel the G’s and it’s a nice sensation.”
A question on the official recon portal from one of the other teams asked whether the cyclors were actively pedalling consistently. Maillefer was giving little away specifically as to whether batteries are still being deployed and individual power output saying: “What’s my power target? Yeah I keep it for me but it will never be enough I tell you. These boats requires a lot of power so you want as much as possible, will never say ‘okay that’s enough’…we are doing a lot with the bikes. It’s a big effort and, as I said, it will never be enough. Do we need batteries? I hope we can do everything ourselves.”
Another terrific performance from the Swiss – a performance to have every analyst at the other Challengers for the 37th America’s Cup working overtime tonight. The trajectory continues.
Watch out, the Bull is charging.
On-Water Recon Unit Notes: Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out their AC75 at 09:30, stepped the mast and craned in. With the forecast showing a stronger than usual Garbi southwest afternoon thermal wind, and flatter than usual sea, the team prepared the M2-2L Mainsail on the yacht before docking out and hoisting in the port. The yacht was towed just outside of the port, where the jib was raised, and sailing commenced at 13:15.
The team started with an upwind/downwind warm up, stopping after an hour to adjust the jib clew-board. A short five-minute stretch was sailed before stopping for lunch during a lull in the wind. By 15:00, the wind increased again, and the team went for a tack and bear-away to sail north on a long downwind leg. ARBR performed 10 foiling gybes, touching down once, before reaching Masnou. The wind increased to 16 knots and the team started the final upwind leg of the session, tacking four times in 20 minutes. The main and jib were dropped outside the port entrance and the team headed back to base.
The AC40 was rolled out just as the AC75 docked out. The boat was prepared for spraying, though it is not clear exactly what work was done.
Over a period of 4 hours on the water, the team covered around 50 Nautical Miles, reaching speeds just shy of 50 knots. Today was one of the first times in a while that the AC75 has been sailed in strong breeze and flatter sea. The improvement in consistency on foil is noticeable.
Driving Group: Arnaud Psarofaghis / Nicolas Charbonnier
Flight Control: Bryan Mettraux / Yves Detrey
Power Group: Nils Theuninck / Augustin Maillefer / Nico Stahlberg / Arthur Cevey
Garbi – Afternoon thermal breeze – 10-13kn SSW @ 12:55 , 6-8kn SSW @ 14:50 , 10-12kn SSW @ 15:10 , 13-16kn @ 15:40. Weather AM: 10°c, Intermittent Clouds. Weather PM: 13°c, Sunny.
M1 (M2-2L): 3 hours 50 minutes
J3 (J3-1R): 2 hours 55 minutes
Total Tacks: 9 – 3 foil-to-foil, 4 touch & go, 2 touchdowns.
Total Gybes: 16 – 10 foil-to-foil, 4 touch & go, 2 touchdowns.
Recon Notes: 13:15 – 13:45 Sailing (1 Tack – Touch & Go, 2 Tacks – Touch Down, 4 Gybes – Fully Foiling, 1 Gybe – Touch & Go, 1 Gybe – Touch Down)
13:55 – 14:05 Sailing (1 Tack – Fully Foiling)
14:40 – 14:45 Sailing (Short stint in a straight line before stopping for lunch)
15:10 – 15:30 Sailing (1 Tack – Touch & Go, 6 Gybes – Fully Foiling, 3 Gybes – Touch & Go, 1 Gybe – Touch Down)
15:40 – 16:00 Sailing (2 Tacks – Fully Foiling, 2 Tacks – Touch & Go)
Dock-Out: 1215 Dock-In: 1635