Auckland was at its stunning best today with 10-15 knots of breeze, glorious early summer sunshine and flat-water, conditions that are about as perfect as can be for sailing the Emirates Team New Zealand LEQ12 moded AC40. However, it was ‘one of those days’ for the Defenders of the 37th America’s Cup – a rare day dogged by control issues that curtailed the session.
After docking-out at 1pm, quickly Pete Burling, Nathan Outteridge, Blair Tuke and Andy Maloney had the LEQ12 up and flying down the harbour but almost immediately it was apparent that something just wasn’t right on the new Wing03 on the port side. A smart gybe onto the new foil saw the flow detach and immediately the sailors were passengers on a splash-down that they saved and brought the boat gently over to the Chase Boat for directions.
No immediate fix could be effected on the water so the decision to tow back to dock and get into the inspection hatch on the port foil was called. A subsequent re-launch, and attempt at re-sailing failed to solve the issue and the day was called at 4.15pm.
Speaking afterwards, Ray Davies (super-coach), reflected on a missed day saying: “Champagne conditions, it would have been a beautiful 10-15 knots, westerly, we’ve had a good spell of weather since we’ve been back, but today we had some issues controlling the foil. We haven’t had too many days like this so, yeah, bit of a shame and plenty to work through as reliability is key but no not a good day for us today…we’ll just fix it properly for tomorrow.”
Overall after a first week of commissioning the new port foil, Ray seemed pleased with progress saying: “For sure very different to we’ve been using lately so it has definitely been good to throw it out there and try learn some new stuff and yes it’s going just fine. It’s amazing how much you just keep learning with these programmes, so yeah happy to keep pushing on there and bit more to learn…we’ve had it up in 20 plus (knots) but yeah you always tend to ease into these things would be really good to have some proper breeze later in the week here we should get even tomorrow afternoon should be good and then again Friday afternoon’s proper windy so yeah good chance to properly send it.”
The Kiwi focus right now is purely on development with Ray confirming as much before the team switch focus to the upcoming Preliminary Regatta in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at the end of the month: “It’s completely different sailing these boats to the one design boats, it’s kind of hard to compare but yeah for sure we’ll get some marks down and practise a bit of starting and time-on-distance and getting used to that again and just communicating around a course but at the moment the focus is on development.”
Much more to come from Emirates Team New Zealand this week. (Magnus Wheatley)
On-Water Recon Report – Emirates Team New Zealand: A light but building WSW tending West breeze blowing across the Hauraki Gulf today as Emirates Team New Zealand launched the LEQ12. Crane was at 12:15 for a scheduled dock out of 13:00 for Day 41 of testing. Another great sailing day in Auckland where the sun was out. The breeze had built to a steady 10-12 knots that was almost from the West by the time sails were hoisted at 13:20. Sail choice today was the M2 and J2. The lads onboard commenced sailing at 13:30 in the upper area of the Harbour off the Viaduct before bearing away and heading down the Waitemata on port tack.
Off Devonport, the team attempted a gybe but quickly came off the foils on the exit and limped over to the chase boat. The team appeared to be having control issues on the port foil and ended up dropping sails at 13:50. They then commenced a displacement tow back to the dock for a better look. Once at the dock, the team hauled out of the water at 14:30 before re-launching at 15:15.
While out of the water, the electronic and hydro team were working inside the inspection hatch on the port arm, confirming the potential of a control issue on the port foil flap. After hoisting the same sail configuration as earlier, the team set out again at 15:42 from just off the Viaduct Harbour. Following a short tack on port, the team on the boat tacked over, foiled for no more than 20 seconds before crashing down on the port foil – the same foil which seemed to have an issue earlier.
It was clear the issue was not properly resolved, and the team got straight into the second sails down of the day. The team were back at the dock around 1615 before hauling the yacht out for the final time of the day. We are assuming they would like to definitively find the cause of the issue so they can make the most of the good conditions over the next days. We managed to interview Ray Davies, Emirates Team New Zealand Coach after the session today who confirmed to us it was a control issue and answered a couple more questions regarding the past few sailing sessions.
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