Monday, July 15, 2024
InicioRegattaAmerica's CupAll Teams Take to Barcelona's Waters for a Day of Exploration

All Teams Take to Barcelona’s Waters for a Day of Exploration

After the recent full-on conditions in Barcelona, this afternoon was a day for the analysts and the data gatherers to have their moment in the sun whilst for the sailors across all the teams it was a day of drills, exercises and the chance to try new things out.

NYYC American Magic opted to turn their AC40 ‘Magic’ back to pure one-design foils today whilst their previously declared LEQ12-AC40 ‘America’ was still featuring the modified starboard foil. The speed difference on port tack with the starboard anhedral immersed was marked but that didn’t deter the two boats having real ding-dong battles over a series of pre-starts that were brilliant to watch and caught on camera.


Tom Slingsby and Harry Melges took charge of Magic whilst Paul Goodison and Lucas Calabrese sailed ‘America’ and both boats were showing some real artistry in the starting box with the scoreline eventually being 2-1 over three race starts to ‘America’. Great to see the ‘S’ manoeuvres in the lead back to the line with the boats jostling for the lee position and it’s something that we can look forward to when we have six boats on a start-line in Vilanova i La Geltrú in a few weeks’ time.

After the racing ‘Magic’ returned to base, whilst ‘America’ stayed out as the wind built to gusts of 16-18 knots and the team went through a quite fascinating series of flight for about 45 minutes. The recon team said: “the boat seemed to be out of whack, and we saw many splashes until they stopped @16:02h. Sailing re-started @16:18h on port tack downwind and we saw the same difficulties on an unsettled America with many nose-dives, ventilations and two more scary porpoise cycles.” Tom Slingsby summed it up afterwards saying: “Our plan for today was to go out and do a couple of races, which we did with two boats, and then it was to go into some different system checks for one of our boats – our LEQ – and so we were just testing a few things. You might have seen us a bit unstable there at times, testing some different configurations and settings but yeah, it’s all part of the learning process.”


Tom dug further into the foil profile in the interview saying: “It’s no secret that our foils are faster so on port tack today our boat ‘America’ we were pretty fast compared to the one design foils…I think it’s pretty obvious that the one design foils are very large, they’re designed to go through a range of conditions to run World Series events and our foils are smaller and so with that you get a little bit more instability and they’re just a little less forgiving when compared to the big one design foils…To win the Cup you’re going to have to find that right balance of small foils which you can still manoeuvre on…we’re just searching down that path at the moment.

Interesting days for American Magic who have been pushing super hard in recent boat-on-boat sessions to really find the limits of the AC40 and the custom foils they are running. No team has pushed harder in testing.

The big machinery was on the water this afternoon too with Emirates Team New Zealand buzzing around the American Magic sailing area near the Port Vell entrance whilst Alinghi Red Bull Racing were flying along the America’s Cup racecourse and further offshore in their AC75 further east.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Both AC75s looked ultra-controlled today and concentrating on trim and technique with Michael Rasmussen, Mechatronics Engineer for Emirates Team New Zealand saying: “I think it was a pretty standard sort of a day for us with the same building breeze we’re seeing here in Barcelona…I think we saw all the other teams out on the water so that was quite cool to see the full sample but yeah from our point of view it was just another training day, good to get quite a light sea-way out there today.”

Job Vermeulen / America’s Cup

The Kiwis certainly looked very powerful today over their customary ‘laps’ that are presumably dialled into an onboard computer to give them a course with low skimming flight upwind and really accurate and consistent flight downwind. Plenty of leech adjustment going on up the mainsail with the trimmers pumping the mainsheet tension whilst keeping the traveller stationary and on the jib control there’s a lot going on with the 3D trimming with the team executing a bladed high mode upwind post tack and then dropping depth in as the speed built. Very impressive and they looked like they were having fun with the team on the Chase Boats acting as a leeward gate. Great day again for the Kiwis.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Out on a laid course and under the watchful eye of Dean Barker who was onboard today, Alinghi Red Bull Racing were noticeably flying higher both upwind and downwind and made ‘BoatZero’ look like a serious weapon. With high flight comes inevitable splash downs but these were few and far between and it was good to see the Swiss really taking their sailing of the AC75 to another level.

Never the easiest boat to sail, ‘BoatZero’ looked much better today. Yves Courvoisier, the team’s R&D Engineer, summed it up beautifully afterwards when he said: “For me there’s a ton to learn, I mean just first, the chance to be on the boat is really crazy you know you those boats are really crazy and I have to be honest today I really understood what it meant to be a professional sailor because they are super calm in situations where  everyone else would just shout out ‘what’s happening!’”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

And it looked very calm all around Alinghi Red Bull Racing who put in a really solid afternoon of testing after yesterday’s stop/start session dogged by breakdowns and systems issues. The team covered some 61 nautical miles with a flight time of 135 minutes and an 81% foil-to-foil success rate over 58 tacks and gybes. Impressive sailing from the young Swiss team fused with America’s Cup experience.

For INEOS Britannia it was a late dock-out at 3pm to allow the ‘Garbi’ thermal breeze to fill but once out on the water the test team of Ben Ainslie & Giles Scott with Bleddyn Mon and Luke Parkinson pushed through a whole raft of tests, executing slow bear-aways and harsh round-ups to foil test whilst upwind the range of modes the team were flying and the continual, and aggressive, playing of the main traveller were the take-aways from the day. Sailing in breeze that at times topped 18 knots, there were a few splash-downs and a couple of raggedy-edged gybes, but speeds were in the high 30’s downwind and they certainly didn’t lack pace or complete control upwind.

Job Vermeulen / America’s Cup

Speaking afterwards, Bleddyn Mon one of the key connections between the sailing and engineering teams gave a super interview and summed the day up saying: “I think it was a pretty efficient day for us out there today, obviously we left the dock kind of late this afternoon but that was intentional to make the most of the breeze that came in from the southwest so I think all-in-all happy with how the day went…today was significantly calmer in terms of the sea state than yesterday so we were able to actually get into certain testing items which was the main focus – couple of things on the mainsail and then a few things around the foils, a few tests we did there, but yeah a lot easier to do those tests on a day like today where the sea state wasn’t quite so big.”

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

Talking about the more extreme moments in the day, Bleddyn was relaxed saying: “I mean we’re getting used to sailing out here in Barcelona and yeah just kind of pushing the boat as hard as we can and pushing it towards the edge and occasionally, we’re finding it but generally on the boat we were fairly calm, few stuffs today but nothing too major.” And talking specifically about his trimming role, Bleddyn commented: “So with the trim obviously we’re always looking for the breeze and moding the boat for that and again particularly when its wavey you’ve got a lot more on…we’re still try to find our modes I guess in these conditions, tuning our targets and they were sailing this boat compared to how we were in in Palma and yeah feeding back to the design team as they get on with designing the race boat.”

INEOS Britannia are on the Barcelona learning curve and there’s momentum building. T6 looks to be a very effective test platform for what the team are trying to achieve, and the sailors are at a very high level all round. It will be interesting to see what the coming weeks bring in terms of development.

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli were caught on camera as they buzzed around the Alinghi Red Bull Racing session in their pure one-design AC40 and looked very assured in the brief glimpses we caught today. No recon as agreed with all the teams when just sailing the AC40 in OD mode.

Barcelona’s August afternoons are becoming something legendary at the moment. More to come this week from all the teams.

On-Water Recon Unit Notes – NYYC American Magic: Double-goal day for AM, initial boat-on-boat racing with America and Magic followed by a latter “pushing the limits” on America’s control systems and settings. Roll out was @10:00h for America with silver foil on stb plus One Design foil on port and Magic in pure One Design foils on both sides. Paul, Harry, Severin and Riley crewing on Magic while Tom, Lucas, Andrew and Michael were on America.

Docking out @12:09h with low dark clouds, 7-9kt @110º wind and sea state 2 with a light combo swell (180º, 150º, 110º) that increased to a sea state 4 when the sea-breeze kicked in at the end of the day with gusts of 18kt @210º. Jibs#1 were hoisted on both boats and they started the warm-up upwind downwind sailing @12:47h in which America was considerably faster only when on port tack foiling on the silver foil. They stopped @13:16h after Magic almost capsized when losing the rudder downwind. With a slight increase of wind up to 8-10kt they changed to Jibs#2 and started @13:33h their 1st practice race, 20’ duration with two laps. America on the lee won the start forcing Magic into an early tack-away to port, from then on America consolidated the lead and covered Magic for the rest of the race to a comfortable win. They stopped briefly for 7’ and the 2nd practice race of just 1 lap began @14:00h that was won again by America from the start, although both boats ventilated synchronously right at the starting line without consequences.

They re-lined up to begin Race 3 but America ventilated to a complete stop shortly after the start and floated still while Magic finished the upwind leg on her own and then sailed into port @14:31h completing the first goal for the day, boat-on-boat racing. Computers and technicians came onboard America @14:25h until 14:48h when they resumed sailing into a “pushing the limits” mode that made the rest of the day very interesting to observe. By then the wind had dropped to 5-8kt and it took them a while to take off with jib#2. America sailing upwind on stb, tried different settings, heights, trims and heels, sometimes well out of range that caused many ventilation splashes. At one point the boat went into a porpoise cycle when the ride-height control on autopilot seemed to be out of phase with the conditions and wrongly overcorrected the boat trim at the wrong time making the boat jump and nose-dive hard three consecutive times to a complete stop.

They had a break @15:18h during which computers and technicians came onboard again. Right then the skies cleared up and the sea-breeze kicked in, starting with 12kt @210º to quickly build up to 18kt and deteriorating the sea state. They resumed sailing @15:42h upwind and downwind, the boat seemed to be out of whack and we saw many splashes until they stopped @16:02h. Sailing re-started @16:18h on port tack downwind and we saw the same difficulties on an unsettled America with many nose-dives, ventilations and 2 more scary porpoise cycles. They called it a day @16:28h, into port @16:40h and at the dock @16:55h. Lea Sitjà, Recon Unit NYAM.

On-Water Recon Unit Notes – Alinghi Red Bull Racing: Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out their AC75 at 09:30. Six individual batteries, one larger battery pack, and a small battery were carried to Chase Alpha in preparation ahead of a long day. Systems tests were run through, with the new mainsail control systems on display for the first time on deck before dock out at 12:00, with the new M2-2R mainsail prepared and then hoisted, followed by a meticulous hour-long setup of the mainsail control systems.

The J2-2L jib was hoisted and Stint 1 commenced from the port entrance at 13:10, with 10 knots of wind and residual swell from the East/South East. The focus was on a short upwind-downwind sail. During this, Jack Taylor the Yacht Captain, was seen harnessed in on the transom, keenly monitoring the mainsail control systems.

Post the initial sail, there was a 20-minute halt during which a crew member boarded the yacht with a computer, presumably sharing data analysis with the sailors. This was succeeded by Stint 2, where the yacht sailed downwind into the course for laps, with the 2 Nautical Mile course oriented at 115°. A recess for lunch was taken post this stint.

Stint 3 saw a sudden change in conditions, with the East wind diminishing as the afternoon ‘Garbi’ thermal South wind taking over. Initial struggles with foiling were observed. However,

as the wind strength picked up, the yacht managed to foil again. This stint comprised of upwind sailing, followed by a downwind return to the reset course, oriented at 210°.

The J2 jib was substituted with a J4-1R. Following this, Stint 4 involved a prolonged upwind leg on the starboard, and subsequently, the yacht bore away and gybed, returning on port to the course start line, where the yacht was halted again for 15 minutes.

Stint 5 saw the team prepare for a pre-start practice, however, almost capsized after bouncing through a gybe into the start box. The sailors impressively saved the yacht from capsizing and the yacht reverted to upwind sailing, though pre-start practice was aborted.

Stint 6 was characterized by the yacht sailing far upwind, south of the free port breakwater. This region experienced amplified wave conditions. The merging of the residual East swell with the South wind swell resulted in aggressive wave chop. A failed bear away attempt on port redirected the team upwind and eventually managed a successful bear away on starboard. The yacht then executed a long downwind sail on port towards Port Olimpic. The chase boats were unable to keep up pace with the yacht.

Yves Courvoisier, the Research and Development Engineer, was on board towards the end of the day. Dean Barker sailed on board, while Phil Robertson was also seen at the base.

The day wrapped up with sails lowered at 17:25, after which the yacht was towed back to base, docking in at 17:45. The team covered a total of 61 Nautical Miles over five and a half hours on the water, 135 minutes spent sailing. 58 manoeuvres were performed, 81% fully foiling and 26 manoeuvres per hour.

On-Water Recon Unit Notes – INEOS Britannia: INEOS Britannia’s scheduled 1330 dock-out had to be pushed back by two hours today, reportedly to allow for a weather transition out on the waters off Barcelona to fully complete. Keen to make up for lost time the team quickly had the sails (M2-2 mainsail and J4-1 headsail) up on their LEQ12 test boat within 15 minutes of leaving the dock and by 1530 were up on foils outside the harbour. With slightly more benign conditions (less breeze – 12-14 knots – and a less extreme (0.5 metre chop yet still confused) sea state the crew – helmsmen Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott with trimmers / flight controllers Bleddyn Mon and Luke Parkinson – were able to run through a series of data gathering exercises prescribed by the designers.

As well as sailing fast windward leeward laps along Barcelona’s city shoreline and beaches that included plenty of manoeuvres the British crew also spent some time sailing long straight-line legs and at times could be seen upwind executing a series of slow bear aways followed by a slow luff to bring them back to the median course. Downwind speeds were in the high thirty-knot range with upwind speeds peaking in the low thirties. Although the crew were clearly pushing the boat hard – particularly downwind – it mostly looked under control, aside from a handful of spectacular splashdowns and one very wobbly exit from a gybe (see highlights video at 05.54) Time was called on the day at 1715 with sails down by 1725 and the boat back on the dock at 1738. Observed on the boat were at least two small white flat displays with a cable attachment and velcro backing to stick them to the boat. No sailing is scheduled for the British team tomorrow (Wednesday August 9).

On-Water Recon Unit Notes – Emirates Team New Zealand: ETNZ rolled out their B2 AC75 from the shed at 11.40 am. The boat was craned to the water at 12:10 and the team docked out at 13.02. The M2-3 and the J3 were hoisted inside the port at 13:12 and 13:15, respectively; and were the only sails used during the day.

Today´s training consisted of a short warm up at the beginning of the day, sailing on a straight line and doing a few tacks and gybes, for approximately twenty minutes. From there on, the focus was mainly on practicing starts and short races all day long.

Complete starting sequences, followed by a short one or two lap upwind-downwind course was the proposal for the day, starting in between their two chase boats and rounding a virtual top mark. On the downwind legs, the chase boats were used as gate marks.

On each of the upwind legs they complemented with three to four tacks, and with two to three gybes on the downwinds.

As usual, the team rotated the entrances coming from the port and starboard ends of the line and alternated their starting positions. Some at the RC boat and some other at the Pin end.

During the pre-starting sequence, it was interesting to see how they played with the windward arm, sometimes bringing it completely down, for example, for practicing a strong bear-away at low speed, like if they had to swing behind a virtual boat positioned to leeward and ahead of them.

On other pre-starts, they approached the line sailing with the windward arm set halfway down, reducing speed, allowing to “fine-tune” the time on distance to the start line. They finally lifted it for full acceleration when needed. On other moments, they just sailed with both arms down.

Today the team did in total 22 tacks and 17 gybes, standing on their foils on almost all of them. It did not seem like they had to do big efforts to stay flying while manoeuvring, even-though during many moments of the day they were sailing on the lower range of the J3.

As regards the general way of sailing the AC75 in five to eight knots, ETNZ continue to sail with a slight heel to windward and forward with their bow slightly pointing down, flying as close as possible to the water specially when going upwind. The mainsail continues to be trimmed and pumped consistently, windsurfing style, always maintaining consistent leech tension. The lower shrouds continue to be tunned with low tension; and a considerable amount of sag on the forestay can be noticed.

Sailing conditions: During most of the day we had a light breeze from the ESE oscillating in between 6 to 8 knots of intensity. It started from 100 and slowly turned right to 125.

Almost at the end of the training, a late Garbi sea breeze finally kicked in, once the clouds had moved away and temperatures were higher, pushing the wind direction to 200 and increasing in intensity at the end of the session. As regards the sea state, a light to moderate swell of 0.75m on average from the ESE prevailed during the day.

Sails were lowered at 15:55 once inside the port, the boat was back in the dock at 16:01, craned out at 16:32 and back in the shed at 17:05. Sebastian Peri Brusa – Recon on ETNZ




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