Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupLuna Rossa Prada Pirelli Returns Strong with Intensive Foil Testing

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Returns Strong with Intensive Foil Testing

After some nine days in the shed, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli brought out their LEQ12 on Friday and Saturday and barely looked like they’d been away. With the foils swapped over from side to side, it was clear that this was to be A/B testing at scale with familiar drills designed to put the foils under maximum loading to extract the crucial data ahead of what will presumably be their final foil design that could debut anytime soon.

© Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli have very much travelled down a logical design path with incremental development of the foils with their exquisite detailing whilst putting a great deal of work into their systems to build up their pre-sets and make sailing the LEQ12 almost a dream. Consistently on the water they look controlled and rapid with the sailors performing at super-high levels day in, day out, regardless of who is on the boat.

For this block of training, Jimmy Spithill, Francesco Bruni and the super-talent that is Ruggero Tita swapped in and out of the helming duties and in near-perfect Cagliari conditions they made the absolute best of two glamour days on the Bay of Angels. Almost like clock-work the afternoon sea breeze kicked in on both days, bringing with it increased chop and some gusts that on Saturday topped 16 knots at deck-level. In those conditions, the Italians absolutely excel and after the sighter runs in the early afternoon before the sea breeze kicked on they put the hammer down and pushed the LEQ12 through its paces.

© Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

Max Sirena, the Team Principle and very much the focal point for the Italian syndicate, gave a terrific update on where the team are at as he spoke to the recon team after four hours on the water, saying: “It was a good day…we are still in summertime here in Cagliari, a good sea breeze which give us a lot of opportunity to keep going with our development and testing process. I guess most of the teams they are in the final decisions regarding the new boats and so everyday we’re spending in the water with these conditions is the goal for us… There is a good chance we’re going to see quite different strategies between teams but sooner or later everyone will get in the water and, at the end, the final result will tell who did the right choice and the right decision in place but again it’s a tough game because with only one boat it’s pretty tricky and with such a short amount of components and wings you can build, it’s pretty key to make the best decision or the best strategy but at the end I mean you have to make some decisions and live with it.”

© Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

Talking through the first Preliminary Regatta in Vilanova a few week’s back, Max was laser-like in his appraisal saying: “It was a tough, tough, event pretty light condition obviously you can tell the difference between teams in terms of hours on the water and the two teams that actually win the event or finish on the top of the event (NYYC American Magic and Emirates Team New Zealand) they’re the teams that spend most of the time with the AC40 and we knew that from day one, but again I think we need to make sure we don’t get too distracted by what the result of Vilanova and eventually by the result in Jeddah – our main focus is the Cup next year and we want to make sure we put all the bullets in the preparation for that for that goal. Obviously as a sailor, or as a competitor, once we start we want to do as much better as possible but it’s sport and you know the result is coming with hours on the water.”

© Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

The team will now move to Barcelona for some AC40 training ahead of the boat being shipped out to Jeddah with Max saying: “Yeah we’re going to start the session in preparation of the Jeddah event some of the team members are already in Barcelona from last night and so yeah we tried to maximise as much as possible the time here in Cagliari and in Barcelona obviously our main focus is still the boat here in Cagliari but at the same time we need to try to train as much as possible with the month of time we have had for the Jeddah event so it’s a work in progress, it’s part of the game and we have to do it.”

©Paul Todd/AMERICA’S CUP

For Alinghi Red Bull Racing, a Friday session was called by the team in desperately light conditions out in Barcelona and after starting out to the north by Badalona, the team quickly towed out to the airport area hoping to catch some building breeze lines that ultimately came through but only allowed the team to sail for some 28 minutes out of four hours. Having waited patiently for the wind to hopefully fill into the early evening, eventually the call was made, and the team towed back to their impressive team base in the heart of the Port Vell.

©Paul Todd/AMERICA’S CUP

Speaking afterwards, Florian Trüb, one of the Power Group onboard the team’s AC75 ‘BoatZero’ commented: “It’s true today we were a little bit chasing the wind, and there was a station reading a little bit of wind further up north when there was no wind unfortunately so went too close to Castelldefels there was a little more wind, we were able to do some sailing there and yeah we were struggling a little bit with the wind today but nevertheless was a very good day…For sure we expected a little bit more breeze and the forecast was up to 10 knots and looked like a very good sailing day but as well we have seen in Vilanova that we have to be able to race in very light breeze as well so it was a very interesting day today.”

©Paul Todd/AMERICA’S CUP

More to come this week from the Swiss who have the full week blocked out as sailing days. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Unit Report – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (Friday): Following a week of updates in the shed, the Italian team LRPP opted for an afternoon sea-breeze training day and rolled out their LEQ12 prototype at 11:30, quickly stepped mast and cables before craning in by 11:45. The wings have been swapped and mirrored between starboard and portside arms: flatter wing 03 on the port arm with the previously seen orange marked dots across the entire wing span while the anhedral wing 02 was back on starboard arm with shortened outboard wing without winglet.

After the usual dock checks, the team docked at 13:30 as the southerly sea-breeze was filling in. The main M1-2 was hoisted by 13:40 followed by the J1-1.5 as the breeze measured 7-9 knots from 165 TWA with a flat sea state. The LEQ12 was boarded by 4 sailors only with swapping with a reserve helm on chase1. The first foiling stint began with a self-take-off at an approx. speed of 17kn in 80 TWA, several tacks followed before transiting into a series of sudden bear aways and trim-ups on both tacks.

Then the LEQ12 seemed to be focussing on high and fast modes testing and straight line sailing prevailed in upwind and downwind course. On several occasions a crew member was observed checking main foot and jib track while sailing and the first foiling stint ended after foiling for 75 minutes. The sea breeze seemed to have picked up measuring 12-14kn from 175TWA with a slightly larger choppy sea state and the team lowered the J1.5 to hoist their J2. The second foiling stint lasted approx. 45 minutes starting with a self-take-off seeing the usual sailing path executed by the LEQ12 several times on both tacks: mostly straight line sailing, 3 tacks, bearing away, 1 gybe and trimming up to repeat.

The third and last foiling stint of the day began with another easy mastered self-take-off, after which the LEQ12 headed offshore for some longer runs before trimming up close to the harbour to lower sails. The day was called after an approx. total of 16 tacks, 7 gybes, and 168 total minutes foiling time [Michele Melis AC Recon].

On-Water Recon Unit Report – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (Saturday): The Italian team LRPP rolled out their LEQ12 prototype at 11:30 for another afternoon sea breeze training day, quickly stepped mast and cables before craning in by 11:45. The appendage configuration seemed to have remained the same compared to the previous sailing day. At 12:30 the team headed out of the harbour, the main M1-2 was hoisted by 12:40 followed by the J1.5 jib as the breeze were recorded between 5-7kn from 170 TWA with a flat sea state. Similar to the previous day, the LEQ12 was boarded by 4 sailors only with a reserve helm on Chase1. As Chase1 towed up the LEQ12 on portside tack, the yacht foiled for couple of minutes before back hull borne exiting a tack. During this short run a rather unusual movement on the starboard shrouds could be seen as documented by video. Once towed up again, the LEQ12 performed a successful tack in light air with a faster transition on two boards before bearing away and heading downwind for some gybes, never without having before reached 24-26kn boat speed. Once again, the team seemed to conduct mode testing with prevailing straight-line sailing. By 1400 the pressure had increased to 11-13kn from 175TWA with a slightly larger choppy sea state and the team lowered the J1.5 to hoist their J2. After a self-take-off, the LEQ12 moved to the usual sailing path several times on both tacks before ending the foiling stint with some hard bear aways and trimming ups closer by shore. By 15:30, the breeze had picked up to 14-16kn in the south-western part of the gulf and the J2 was lowered to hoist the J4 and proceeded training around the gulf, upwind speeds of approx. 36-37kn were observed while downwind approx. 43-45kn. The day was called after approx 22 tacks, 12 gybes, and 193 total minutes foiling time [Michele Melis AC Recon].

On-Water Recon Unit Report – Alinghi Red Bull Racing (Friday): Alinghi Red Bull Racing managed to sail in very low wind conditions. The Swiss team rolled their AC75 at 10:00h, and right after the mast procedure, they launched and tested hydraulics just before the dock out at 11:55h. The M1-1R mainsail and J1 headsail were hoisted inside the port by 12:20h. Right after, the chase boat towed the boat out of the harbour, where they started sailing in displacement mode on their port foil. 

In front of Badalona, with 4knots from 160º, the team decided to tow the boat in the opposite direction heading to Barcelona Airport, where they proceeded with the first take-off assistance of the day. They managed to foil for fourteen minutes at 30knts with very light wind conditions, until they touched-down as the breeze was decreasing. Straightaway, they did another attempt which lasted no more than three minutes.

At 14:15h, in the vicinity of El Garraf they swapped cyclors and changed the batten from the mainsail. They continued with 3 more sailing attempts before towing the yacht back in front of the port entrance, always putting a lot of interest at the foot of both of the main skins when being towed. They waited patiently for the breeze to fill in, until they made the call to drop the sails at 16:35h and docked in by 17:00h. Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailed for 28 min out of 4 hours on the water.

© IVO ROVIRA / AMERICA’S CUP

© IVO ROVIRA / AMERICA’S CUP

© IVO ROVIRA / AMERICA’S CUP

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