Tuesday, February 27, 2024
HomeRegattaAmerica's CupEmirates Team New Zealand Masters Light Air Techniques in Barcelona Training Session

Emirates Team New Zealand Masters Light Air Techniques in Barcelona Training Session

Emirates Team New Zealand put in another solid afternoon of training after an initial delay to allow for the wind to fill out on the designated America’s Cup racecourse off the Barceloneta beachfront. It was a slow-build followed by a slow-fade weather pattern that tested their light air technique in sub 10 knots of breeze before filling in briefly mid-afternoon and giving the team a thorough and highly productive work-out of pre-start practice.

Staying close to the shore and doing short laps on the racecourse built valuable data for the analysts and sailors as the vagaries of that coastline with its sunken man-made reefs make for a very unique profile of chop, swell and wind bends. Temperatures were scorching with the mercury touching 32 degrees in the afternoon as the thermal south-easterly ‘Garbi’ wind blew in to mercifully cool the city, but Barcelona is really delivering superb sailing conditions out on the water day after day.

Job Vermeulen / America’s Cup

The concentration for the Kiwis was clearly on race-type situations to really test the whole crew and dial in Pete Burling and Nathan Outteridge with their Flight Controllers to achieve the critical co-ordination required to take these AC75s into a start box and be effective. Much technique was on show, particularly in the speed burns as they approached back to the line with time to kill whilst some of the team’s most exacting runs were on fast straight-lines to the start-line at full speed. Incredible to watch. The team were really on it and some superb footage was caught on the recon video.

Sam Meech summed up the day afterwards saying: “It was a great day out there, we were into bit of a slow-build but it came in the end and we had some good laps around and I think we had about 8- 12 knots so awesome day for the team…it’s good to get into it especially on the race course, you know, we did a lot of work in the AC40s around pre-starts earlier in the year and it’s nice to put it onto the course here.”

Job Vermeulen / America’s Cup

The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist in the ILCA 7, Sam is one of the super-fit cyclor team members who rotate in through the day and in those conditions, with the power demands of short-course racing, it looked tough. Clearly though the rotations were working well as Sam confirmed saying: “We were swapping people in and out during the day just to keep everyone fresh in this heat. It’s pretty hard work when you start, it’s not too bad as the day goes on especially on a day like today where it’s that hot, you know it’s pretty nice to have a little break… actually I haven’t found it too difficult as long as we’re drinking well before we go out and then again afterwards it’s not been too bad. We haven’t done any mega long sails so yeah, so far, we’ve have been alright.”

Meanwhile it was a different story entirely for Alinghi Red Bull Racing who brought both of their AC40s down from their temporary tent to their new base situated near the Mare Magnum complex in the Port Vell but only elected to sail this afternoon with AC40-4, their modified AC40 with the latest iteration of their foil design on the port side. Having docked out at the same time as the Kiwis at 1pm, the session was over quickly after a blistering low-ride run just outside the harbour entrance before being forced to retire slowly back to base with issues on the new foil arm.

The Swiss limped back to shore and as the Recon Team noted: “The port foil arm was lifted as the yacht was slowly towed back to base. Michel Kermarec and Adolfo Carrau were on the water, then joined by more foil designers who arrived at the base imminently when the boat docked in, to inspect the damage to the foil. After crane-out, it was noted that the interior surface access hatch of the foil arm dislodged, revealing the inner workings of the foil.”

Speaking afterwards Adolfo Carrau, Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s Design Co-Ordinator played down the issue saying: “We have to lift the boat and figure it out. It must be something small, but we thought it was prudent to stop it and return and evaluate things in the shed.”

Adolfo also gave a wider interview talking about when the team’s new AC75 would be delivered to the Swiss sailors who are more than keen to get sailing on the second generation of these foiling monohulls, as he said: “I think as soon as the weather gets you know sailable here I think that’s the right time, so I think we are tuning our design deadlines and also all the logistics around it to have the boat whenever is the most productive.”

And talking about the Delta Tubercle foil that Alinghi Red Bull Racing ran as its first upgrade on the One Design AC40 foils, Adolfo was asked if the design team were happy with what they saw, and he said: “Very happy. It was probably the most interesting foil that we tested ever, so yeah, we got a lot out of it.”

Plenty more to come from the Swiss in the coming days.

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

Over at the INEOS Britannia base, just around the Port Vell from the Swiss, it was declared as a non-sailing day but for the first time we saw the highly technical LEQ12 ‘T6’ being rolled-out, rigged and measured by the engineers on the dockside in Barcelona. The process of commissioning such an exact boat is a lengthy task and the team toiled in the afternoon heat for some seven hours, measuring everything with extraordinary accuracy and dialling the onboard systems in.

Remember, ‘T6’ is the boat that live links back to a ‘Mission Control’ centre at the Mercedes Applied Science headquarters in Brackley in the UK so accuracy is everything and one can only imagine the data being gathered on a daily basis. The foils appeared exactly as we left off in Palma with the promising long-span starboard anhedral and the ‘Spitfire’ foil on port – both now with quite large Pitot tubes extending forward and the usual impressive array of cameras.

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

First sailing day is now scheduled for tomorrow for the Challenger of Record and they will make a very welcome sight on the crystal blue waters of Barcelona to continue their high-intensity training and testing programme that they started last week with their AC40 ‘Athena.’

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli was also out on the water today, continuing their AC40 One Design training schedule and as before, with the boat in One Design mode, there is no official recon to report and the AC40 was only briefly seen in the background when passing Alinghi Red Bull Racing or Emirates Team New Zealand.

Plenty more to come this week from Barcelona.

On-Water Recon Unit Notes – Emirates Team New Zealand: ETNZ rolled out their B2 AC75 from the shed at 10.35 am. The boat was craned to the water at 11:05 and the team docked out at 13.00, after a one-hour postponement due to lack of wind. The M2 and the J3 were hoisted inside the port at 13:08 and 13:12, respectively.

The team started the day doing some manoeuvres. They did in total 28 tacks and 21 gybes, standing on their foils on absolutely all of them, consolidating another day of strong boat handling performance.

Today´s training was mainly focused on practicing pre-starts, at the beginning using two marks and later using their two chase boats in replacement of those marks. Most of the starting sequences were followed by a short two-lap upwind-downwind virtual course.

The team alternated the entrances. On some of them coming into the box from the starboard end of the line and on some others from the port end. Similarly, they practiced some starts at the RC boat and some others at the pin end. During the pre-starting sequence they also alternated their practice. Sometimes they went deep into the pre-start box, close to where the boundaries would be, and on some other starts they stayed closer, practicing burning time close to the starting line in different ways, applying different techniques.

The focus was mainly on the accelerations, decelerations, course changes, manoeuvres at low speeds and time-distance estimations. Please, refer to the videos for further details and techniques on how they burn time when being close to the starting line.

At 14:40 ETNZ did a break and the J3 was replaced by the J2, that seemed more appropriate for the wind conditions that prevailed from that time of the day onwards. The pre-starting and short course practice continued until the end of the day, with the J2.

Sailing conditions: Wind direction pretty consistent all day, prevailing from 170 and intensity constantly decreasing. There were almost ten knots at sea level at the beginning of the day and it ended up close to six at the end of the training.

Sails were lowered at 16:05 once inside the port, the boat was back in the dock at 16:15, craned out at 16:47 and back in the shed at 17:08, with no breakdowns.

ETNZ plans to resume their trainings next Thursday. Sebastian Peri Brusa – Recon on ETNZ

On-Base Recon Unit Notes – INEOS Britannia: A non-sailing day for INEOS Britannia today as the British team’s technicians and shore crew configured and calibrated the mast on their silver T6 LEQ12 test boat. It’s a procedure that the team has undertaken on numerous occasions previously, and – other than an hour-long delay due to onboard connectivity issues – the day went smoothly.

As on previous occasions the team began the day by levelling the boat and its cradle using a theodolite and four steel tape measures hanging fore and aft on the boat. That done, while the mast was being stepped, plumb lines were hung from the bow and stern and using a laser sight and a thin feeder cord, the midline of the boat was extended aft by about a little over a boat length. Following this, a prolonged period of calibration was carried out by the team on deck before the first of two theodolite sightings up the mast were made. A minor correction to the setup after the first sighting saw thumbs up from the theodolite operators.

Beginning at 1030 this morning and finishing at 1730 with the mast back in its cradle, the seven hour day saw the boat wheeled back into the shed at 1740. No major changes to the boat itself were observed – with the starboard foil being the anhedral and the port foil the original spitfire wing shape. Both foils had large pitot tubes protruding forwards. The starboard foil had upper and lower cameras, while the port foil just had a lower camera. On the mast a grey enclosure (previously fitted but not operational) was spotted with multiple cables protruding from the bottom. The enclosure was comprised of two separate boxes labelled “Shrouds” and “Mast Zeroes” respectively. 

A sailing day has been scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday August 2) – the first time T6 will have been launched and sailed in Barcelona.      

On-Water Recon Unit Notes – Alinghi Red Bull Racing: The Swiss Team rolled out their AC40-4 (Yellow) and AC40-7 (Red) at 08:30 and 09:05 respectively. Rigs were set on both boats prior to the crane-in at the old base. Subsequently, both were towed to the new base at Mare Magnum.

A somewhat extended period was necessary for system checks on both boats at the dock. A ‘Mator’ portable air conditioner was brought onto the dock, its hoses being directed into the AC40-7 (red boat). Given the particularly hot and humid conditions of the day, the ‘Mator’ was likely used to maintain manageable temperatures for work below deck and perhaps to expedite the drying of the interior.

Despite both boats being prepared, the decision was made to sail with only one boat, the AC40-4. It docked out at 13:00 with one design sails. The ‘Garbi’ afternoon thermal wind

was blowing at a moderate 9-11 knots from 190° by the start of sailing at 13:20. Sea conditions from the south-east were fairly flat compared to yesterday.

Stint 1 was cut short when, after less than 5 minutes of sailing, an issue with the port foil arm forced an end to sailing. The port foil arm was lifted as the yacht was slowly towed back to base. Michel Kermarec and Adolfo Carrau were on the water, then joined by more foil designers who arrived at the base imminently when the boat docked in, to inspect the damage to the foil. After craning out, it was noted that the interior surface access hatch of the foil arm dislodged, revealing the inner workings of the foil.

Meanwhile, the red boat remained at the base. The reason for its non-use remains unknown but work on the boat continued while the yellow boat went out for sailing. Given the limited time on the water, there were no significant observations regarding the team’s performance. The session was marked more by equipment and environmental challenges rather than racing or testing.




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