New York Yacht Club American Magic may well be into their final few days of sailing on beautiful Pensacola Bay, but the pace of development ramped up a notch today as the team unveiled a new, sturdier looking port foil, beefed up around the side-wall area of the pointy bulb presumably in a leeway-defying move and some interesting outer flaps, painted in white with red markers on the outer foil. Notable too was that the new foil had upturned winglets at the outer end of both the inner and outer ends.
Is this white area, unpainted in the chromium that adorns the rest of the foil, an area that bends under load? Perhaps of a different material? The team will be giving nothing away but in flight today over some 55 nautical miles that saw initially long straight-line testing and take-off practice, it was a super-assured performance.
‘America’s Looked stable in flight, particularly on the new port foil and even more stable through gybes onto that foil downwind. The more slender starboard foil still seems to have a tendency to lose grip after a manoeuvre but on balance it was a better day for the flight controllers on that foil whilst the new version looked sublime all round.
Once the data gathering had been ticked off on take-off and straight-lining, the team put the LEQ12 AC40 through its paces upwind and down throwing in some 41 tacks and gybes, the vast majority of which as soon as the breeze filled to above 10 knots consistently, were foil-to-foil and well executed. However, it was a tough afternoon weather-wise as the team dodged persistently increasing rain clouds and some pretty terrifying lightning pulses that fizzed around the Bay – a sure sign that summer is on the way in Florida.
Speaking afterwards Andrew Campbell was his usual open self in interview, saying: “Yeah another ‘Monday Blues’ man, we are starting to see that summer weather creep into Pensacola here so warm, sticky, and thunder stormy today, so we tried to sneak in a little session ahead of the of the weather and we ended up getting a lot of it on top of us…the good thing is that all the beach goers and guys in their power boats and families out for a day cruise sail are happy to go in when the rain starts so we’re left alone out on the Bay and it’s still good sailing conditions because the data is still being collected, it’s just not as nice to look at.”
Talking about the new port foil, Andrew confirmed that it was early days for the commissioning, saying: “So there’s a new foil on the port side of the boat and we’re just running through its paces, got a lot of things to check off to make sure it’s functioning properly and then we very quickly can get into our performance analysis you know once those items are ticked off…The design team is always in the business of boat speed so those guys are making trying to make boards that are going to be better for VMG that go across a better wind range and we’re going to test this thing through the entire range of breeze we can get in the next few days before we pack up and you know we’re looking to compare it with the one we’ve got and compared to other stuff that we previously had and against the one design foils as well.”
Early indications and certainly from Andrew’s demeanour, suggests that the team are happy with the foil iterations that are coming on strong with the American Magic programme: “Everybody’s got an opinion, as the old saying goes, so it’s definitely right I believe to watch the other teams and analyse what they’ve got underneath their boats. At the end of the day this is our second shot of what we think is a pretty good option and we’re going to dig into some corners that hopefully yield us some results. We trust the designers and the design tools to give us good answers and it’s just the sailors job to go out and test them.”
What we saw out on the Bay was a big improvement all round from recent sessions that have been marred with bow stuffs and tricky flight on the starboard foil. Andrew sees a combination of improvements, saying: “The boat was going around the racetrack just fine. We felt really comfortable and there’s a lot of a lot of improvements to be made on the technique side so the sailors are improving as quickly as the foils are improving as far as I can tell.”
Improvements all round, the team will continue this week before the big move to Barcelona where testing will continue with two AC40s in commission. Busy times for NYYC American Magic but they look well and truly on track.\
Recon Notes: The AC40 rolled out of the shed at 0845 and it was immediately noted that the port foil was changed (see pics). Also noted was the absence of the foil mounted cameras on the starboard side.
America docked out at 1100 in 7k of breeze and was towed to the south end of the Bay. She was up and under sail at 1139 with the M1 and J1. After 3 quick self ups and touch downs, America settled in for a 30-minute stint, followed by a 15 min stint. Squall lines moved through for the remainder of the day.
The team worked to avoid the areas of the Bay where the rain was the heaviest. The breeze built to 10-12k by 1300 and the crew switched to the J2, and the batteries were swapped.
The sailing today mostly consisted of a mixture of long stints on one board, and rapid back-to-back manoeuvres, with emphasis on harden up and bear-aways. The team looked smooth today with the majority of unsuccessful manoeuvres occurring in the light air at the beginning of the day. Only one minor bow stuff was observed today.
The end to the day’s sailing was called at 1416 as an approaching storm contained a lot of lightning. The boom on the team crane was shortened and America was left in the water in preparation for the coming storm.
In all, America completed 41 manoeuvres, 7 W/L’s, sailed approximately 55nm, and had a total flying time of 91 minutes. Top speeds were approximately 33k upwind and 40k downwind.
Conditions: 11:13 SE 7k/ 12:20 SE 10k/ 13:55 E 10-12k. Wind speed measured 8ft above sea level using a handheld anemometer.
Weather AM: 75° Mostly Cloudy.
Weather PM: 75° Rain.
Sea State AM: Flat.
Sea State PM: Light Chop.
Total Tacks: 25 – 17 foil-to-foil, 8 touch & go, 0 touchdowns.
Total Gybes: 16 – 14 foil-to-foil, 2 touch & go, 0 touchdowns.
Recon Notes: America was on foil for a total of 91 minutes (2, 2, 1, 30, 15, 30, 7, and 4 minutes respectively)
Take off speed: 18 knots at 90° TWA (True Wind Angle)
Recon Notes: Initial take off was self, 7 additional self-ups, 0 tow ups.
Onboard AC40 Today:
Helms: Paul Goodison / Andrew Campbell / Riley Gibbs
Trimmers: Lucas Calabrese / Michael Menninger / Andrew Campbell
Mainsail (AM-LEQ MS1): 3 hours
Jib (J1): 55 minutes
Jib (J4 – LEQ J2.1): 1 hour 27 minutes
Dock-Out: 1100 Dock-In: 1430