After the disappointment yesterday of a session cut cruelly short by a blown inspection hatch on the port foil of Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s much modified AC40-4, today saw the Swiss team bounce straight back with a brilliant, thrilling, mesmerizing afternoon of two boat action out on a perfect Barcelona.
Flat water and 20 knots of breeze greeted the two AC40’s, with AC40-4 running a new mainsail on its first commissioning day – the M1-2LE – which replaces the earlier upgrade that the team declared. AC40-7 meanwhile sailed in one design mode and the team are yet to swap in foils to this boat as we have seen NYYC American Magic do with their two boats ‘America’ and ‘Magic’ but for sure that’s coming as Adolfo Carrau, Design Co-Ordinator, intimated yesterday.
For today it was pure boat-on-boat action with everything from desperately close manoeuvres, pre-starts, spin-outs and even a capsize on AC40-7 for good measure, all executed at breakneck speed with the whole team operating an incredibly high level. Nico Charbonnier, 470 bronze medallist from the 2006 Beijing Olympic Games, really summed up the day, absolutely buzzing from the experience helming AC40-4 saying: “This is what we are waking up every morning for and it couldn’t be any better, we had a flat sea state and 20 knots of breeze and the boats are just insanely fast and yeah it’s great.”
Some early technical issues on the port foil area of AC40-4 were quickly resolved and what looked like an issue on the pure one-design AC40 right at the end of the session saw the team being towed back into base – no surprise considering just how hard the team were driving all day – and Nico updated on both saying: “I don’t think we had any issue on the port foil, it was just we didn’t do good manoeuvres but was good otherwise and the foil worked really well. And I don’t exactly know but the second boat had a capsize, so I think something wasn’t working anymore due to the capsize and we just came in because it was more efficient for the team to be doing the working on the two boats.”
Dean Barker had joined Maxime Bachelin on AC40-7 in one-design mode and their capsize was downwind straight after a short lunch break. Arnaud Psarofaghis and Nico Charbonnier continued the session really dialling into their port foil and taking a good look at the new mainsail iteration. In total, they completed some four and a half hours on the water in top-end breeze, foiling for some 125 minutes and interestingly resorting to two-board down bear-aways that trimmer Nico Rolaz intimated were ‘safer and just as fast’ in a recent interview – certainly as the breeze gets up, stability is paramount and it’s a logical playbook to initiate.
Asked to draw any early conclusions on the new mainsail, Nico quite rightly offered a diplomatic answer on this its first day on the boat, saying: “It’s not that I don’t want to answer this one but it’s early days, today with the sails. I think it was the direction the designer wanted to go but it’s still really early to get conclusions, was quite windy too, we don’t normally sail in that breeze, so no the good thing was it was really reliable we had no issues and was a good commissioning for the sail, it was good.”
Elsewhere on the Port Vell, INEOS Britannia had hoped to get out in their LEQ12 prototype ‘T6’ today after a very long afternoon of measurement and commissioning yesterday, but it wasn’t to be as a number of technical issues after the boat had been launched pushed back the dock-out time until eventually time was called with the breeze really filling in out of the harbour.
Some interesting tech notes below from Justin Chisholm who has been following the team through the winter period in Palma and is now based in Barcelona with the sighting of a “new LED display situated at the front of the trimmer / flight controller pod. The narrow display runs the width of the cockpit lip and showed a red LED dot moving from side to side – not unlike the display on the AI car ‘Kit’ in the old TV show Knight Rider.” – One for us of a certain vintage but it will be fascinating to see the level of technology that INEOS Britannia will now start bringing forward in this America’s Cup cycle with the influence of Mercedes Applied Science. The Brits have the whole of August marked out in the Recon Calendar for possible sailing so there’s plenty to come from the team in the coming days and weeks.
The forecast in Barcelona for the rest of the week and into the weekend looks stunning with building afternoon breezes from the south and east providing the perfect canvas for testing, evaluation and race training. Plenty to come this week with New Zealand, America, Italy, Britain and Switzerland all planning sailing sessions.
On-Water Recon Unit Report – Alinghi Red Bull Racing: Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out their AC40-4 (Yellow) and AC40-7 (Red) at 08:30 and 09:00 respectively. The port foil arm on the AC40-4, which had encountered an issue yesterday, was repaired overnight. A new M1-2 LE mainsail, distinguished by a slightly different head and a window added to the foot, along with a noticeable structural band along the luff of the sail similar to the previous M1-1 LE, was prepared onto the AC40-4.
Both boats docked out at 12:00 with the ‘Garbi’ afternoon thermal wind blowing at a moderate 10-12 knots from the south. Sea conditions from the South/Southwest were moderate with wave heights of 0.6-1m and a 3-second period. Dean Barker was back on board the Red boat today.
Stint 1 started with a quick test of the system, before a quick tow start to get the yacht up on the foil, then joining the Red boat. The two boats sailed a long downwind to Masnou, performing split gybes all the way. There was a short pause as the jib was momentarily dropped and adjusted on the Yellow boat.
Stint 2 commenced with the wind rapidly increasing. A long upwind tacking duel and split tacks followed, then rounding the chase boat as a windward mark followed by a downwind back to Masnou, round the chase boat and back upwind. A touch down tack slowed the Yellow boat, and as the Red boat attempted to re-join, it lost control and spun out. As the Red boat recovered and was back on tow, the Yellow boat meanwhile sailed a long downwind stretch on starboard, further testing the new foil.
Following a quick lunch break, the Red boat capsized while sailing downwind as the Yellow boat prepared to start sailing again. The Red boat’s sails were dropped, and it was slowly towed back to base in displacement mode while the Yellow boat started sailing again after apparently dealing with unknown issues on board.
Stint 3 saw the Yellow boat sailing upwind and downwind legs in the strong breeze, struggling with bear aways due to insufficient grip and stability on the leeward foil, eventually resorting to bearing away with two boards down. Sails were dropped at 16:00, and the yacht was towed back to base.
The team spent four and a half hours on the water, with the AC40-4 sailing for 125 minutes. A total of 71 manoeuvres were recorded, 90% of which were fully foiling. With 34 manoeuvres per hour, this is one of the highest rates recorded for the team.
On-Base Recon Unit Report – INEOS Britannia: The British team’s first scheduled sailing day in Barcelona aboard their silver LEQ12 test boat code-named ‘T6’ had to be postponed today after a series of technical issues with the complex yacht proved unsurmountable in the weather window which saw 20+ knot winds forecast for mid-afternoon. T6 was rolled out bang on time this morning at 0930, but a longer than expected mast set up which took until 1135 meant the LEQ12 was not launched until 1135. A series of dock out postponements followed with the time being put back from 1130 to 1300 at first and then 1430.
Meanwhile, a scrum of technicians pored over T6 as they tried to tick off their regular pre-sailing test list. As time ticked by, the chance of going sailing steadily diminished with updated weather forecast predicting strong winds outside the harbour around the time the British crew would be hoisting sails.
Eventually the team had to bow to the inevitable with time being called on the day at 1435. Soon after the boat was hoisted out of the water and placed back on its cradle before being derigged and rolled inside the shed at 1630. One notable observation from the day was a new LED display situated at the front of the trimmer / flight controller pod. The narrow display runs the width of the cockpit lip and showed a red LED dot moving from side to side – not unlike the display on the AI car ‘Kit’ in the old TV show Knight Rider.
Photos and video of this were not possible due to restricted camera angles. Other more mundane sightings were that the mast enclosure spotted yesterday had been enclosed in what looked like a Mylar cover, and that the team spent some time checking the fit of the carbon mast collar around the base of the mast. This collar was previously used on at least one occasion during sailing sessions in Palma. A sailing session has been scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday Aug 3).
ALEX CARABI / AMERICA’S CUP
UGO FONOLLÁ / AMERICA’S CUP
© ALINGHI RED BULL RACING BROUGHT THEIR TWO AC40S OUT FOR TRAINING IN A BUILDING BREEZE THAT MAXED OUT AT 20 KNOTS AND SAW SOME OF THE MOST SUPERB EXECUTION BY THE YOUNG SWISS TEAM. SPIN-OUTS, A CAPSIZE, AND BLISTERING PACE MARKED ONE OF THE MOST ENTERTAINING AFTERNOONS SEEN IN BARCELONA IN THIS AMERICA’S CUP CYCLE. SUBSCRIBE TO THE OFFICIAL AMERICA’S CUP CHANNEL: HTTPS://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/C/AMERICASCUP LIKE AMERICA’S CUP ON FACEBOOK: HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/AMERICASCUP FOLLOW AMERICA’S CUP ON TWITTER: HTTPS://WWW.TWITTER.COM/AMERICASCUP FOLLOW AMERICA’S CUP ON INSTAGRAM: HTTPS://WWW.INSTAGRAM.COM/AMERICASCUP STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE AMERICA’S CUP NEWSLETTER: HTTPS://WWW.AMERICASCUP.COM/EN/NEWSLETTER THE 37TH AMERICA’S CUP WILL BE DEFENDED IN BARCELONA BY FOUR-TIME AMERICA’S CUP WINNER, THE ROYAL NEW ZEALAND YACHT SQUADRON REPRESENTED BY THEIR TEAM, EMIRATES TEAM NEW ZEALAND. #AMERICASCUP #AC37 #BARCELONA2024 0:00 COMING UP 0:08 ALINGHI RED BULL RACING