It was a first proper commissioning day for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli in the AC40 with Ruggero Tita and Marco Gradoni given charge supported by the ace trimmers and Flight Controllers of Umberto Molineris and Andrea Tesei. All was looking good with a calm Bay of Cagliari welcoming one of the prettiest of the new AC40 class with 9 to 14 knots of breeze and a gentle swell for what looked like being potentially a solid day to tick through a full checklist on the systems side.
First take-off looked assured on starboard tack with the port foil immersed and the one design M1 and J3 sails set but very quickly the team discovered a rotor sensor issue with the starboard foil and the realisation quickly dawned that they could only sail on the port foil. This was never going to be a long session in the circumstances, but the team enjoyed the 1 nautical mile run, playing around with ride height and windward heel, understandably a bit erratically at first, but looked pretty solid by the end of the short blast after some hairy high flight initially.
With the issue detected, the technicians were in down below quickly and the call was made to lower sails and head back to shore. Enrico Voltolini, the AC40 boat captain and also one of the team in training to join the power group on the AC75, was pretty clear with the issue saying: “Today we just did a take-off, we got a problem on the rotor sensor on the starboard flap, so we were not able to sail on port and we did a structural test and soon we go back in the water. Yeah, they boat is not so easy like it seems, I mean if you steer and sail the boat it’s easier than the prototype or AC75 but on the technical side it is a ‘full of mechatronics’ boat.”
And asked if the issue was something easily solvable, Enrico responded: “It’s solved! In this boat we have five very sensitive valves, and we have some dirty oil, so we just clean the oil and seal back…it’s just that we cannot control the boat sailing just in autopilot mode so without the sensor on the flap we cannot sail manually.”
Early teething issues but this is a team that bounces back very quickly, and the next five days are blocked out on the shared recon calendar as potential sailing days. More to come from the Italians.
On Water Recon Unit Notes: The Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli branded AC40-6 rolled out at 9:45 and the shore crew started right away with the mast stepping procedure. Once craned in at 10:30, the team seemed to conduct overall routine checks such as board rise/drop, sail controls and below deck tests including some structural testing.
Once all these were completed the mainsail was positioned on deck while three foresails, J1, J2 and a J3 were loaded onto Chase2 and the AC40 was towed out of the harbour. The rainy day offered some instable and patchy forecast with offshore NNW pressure varying from 9 to 14kn with some longer period swell from SE with a height of 0.5m and 7s period. Once offshore of La Sella del Diavolo, the team locked in the mainsail in the mast fittings hoisting it relatively slowly. Shore crew worked on the mainsheet system and finally a J3 jib was passed onboard and hoisted, lowered and finally rehoisted.
At 15:25 the AC40 was towed up on starboard tack and sailed upwind for approximately 1nm before dropping back hullborne. Shore crews jumped on board and the sailors started to lower the sails. The AC40 was then towed back to the base where the portside flap control system will be debugged to proceed on the commissioning of their AC40 [Michele Melis AC Recon].
Dock out: 1200 Dock-in: 1550
Helms: Ruggero Tita / Marco Gradoni
Crew: Andrea Tesei / Umberto Molineris
Mainsail ODM1: 1 hour 25 minutes
JIB ODJ3: 25 minutes
© IVO ROVIRA / AMERICA’SCUP
© IVO ROVIRA / AMERICA’SCUP