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Emirates Team New Zealand Analyzes New Port Foil in Marginal Light Conditions

Monday afternoon in Auckland saw Emirates Team New Zealand out in, at times, marginal, light conditions to dig into the data of their new bullet-shaped port foil.

Out in Auckland it was a busy Monday for Emirates Team New Zealand who put in a two-and-a-half-hour session in a variable breeze that at times was sub 8 knots before building to gusts of 16 knots. The on-water recon team made a very good observation about sailing style saying: “First hour of sailing included very low exits out of tacks and high exits out of gybes and a lot of traveller play. As the breeze built, a lot more mainsheet tension and twist were played with very little traveller use. Good, synchronized sail trim out of manoeuvres especially in the light. The team have learnt to tack onto the new foil much better in the marginal conditions today compared to two weeks ago.”

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Once again the results of the day showed a 91% foil-to-foil ratio across both tacks and gybes which was remarkable considering the conditions and what we suspect were some control issues again with the port foil that caused a technician to come onboard to look at the problem mid-session. Once fixed, the sailors put on a terrific performance of high-technique and even higher communications co-ordination with some beautiful 360 degree manoeuvres and some very smart downwind gybes with the over-sheeted main traveller and a visibly tighter mainsheet setting that caused considerable creasing down to the clew. Onboard today, the team fitted a LIDAR camera on the starboard side on a big arm to accurately measure volumetric depth and in the sky the Chase Boat team were running a drone looking specifically at the leeward skin of the mainsail upwind and the new port foil’s wing wash.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Valuable day in flat water for Emirates Team New Zealand who are now starting to eye the upcoming America’s Cup Preliminary Regatta, presented by NEOM, at the end of the month. Andy Maloney spoke to the recon team after sailing and confirmed the schedule ahead, saying: “It’s really just finishing up this foil testing block before we start looking forward to Jeddah and preparing as best we can for that one-design regatta coming up – quite a different style of sailing for us on the boat, you know we all do different roles, so try and transition into that as quickly as we can over this week.”

And the goal for Jeddah is clear with Andy adding: “Obviously to win the event, you know we were disappointed last time to not quite come away with the win, not to get to do that final match race, so there’s a lot of motivation for us as a team to get there get back into the one-design boat, get dialled in as quickly as we can and then try and put our best foot forward in racing.”

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Looking back at this block of foil testing, Andy offered: “All the foils are different, we’ve got Blair (Tuke) and myself controlling them, but we’ve got another thirty people who are very experienced in looking at foils so it’s great to have everyone looking at them from different angles and learning as much as we can about them and the difference between the two going forward.”

The team were off the water and docked-in by 2.30pm and have another couple of days of testing in Auckland this week before attention turns to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and the America’s Cup Preliminary Regatta, presented by NEOM, that starts on the 30th November. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – Emirates Team New Zealand: Day 45 for Emirates Team New Zealand in the LEQ 12 had a mix of conditions allowing testing in a range of breezes. The day started with a 12:00 dock out and sail hoist straight out in front of the base before a tow down the harbour in search of breeze. Sails choice was the M2 and J2 for the entire session.

Breeze was found in the Rangitoto Channel, and the team dropped the tow on the foils and commenced testing. They sailed a few laps up and down in a small area of water where there was breeze, completing almost all manoeuvres on the foil. Wind speed in the zone was not much more than 8 knots. When a non-foiling manoeuvre occurred, a tow was required to get back on the foils as there was not enough breeze generally to self-take-off.

Eventually at 12:52 the breeze shut down in this area and the team decided to take a break as they could no longer stay on the foil. It was looking a little dire on the Gulf however. Luckily for the team, a few easterly cells made their way across from the Back Paddock and the team were able to get up and foiling again. Some of these systems bought as much as 16-17 knots of breeze but the average was around 12-14 knots.

The team set up training to the South of Rangitoto sailing upwind/downwind laps between two yellow marker boys. The flat water gave the team a perfect sailing area and the wind, although up and down at times, was made the most of by the team. They sailed some longer tacks testing, and towards the end, were starting to increase the manoeuvres and were seen doing multiple full foiling 360’s including two foil glide entries and also well-timed foil arm up/downs through tack to gybe and gybe to tack circles. Overpowered at times being up range with the J2, they were running quite twisty sail profiles today. Sail trim across jib and main as in the last few sessions was very synchronised. As the breeze came up, a lot of sail ease could be seen out of tacks and more twist, with not a load of traveller being played. The yacht and sailors seemed to be performing well.

At 14:06, the team bore away off St Heliers and finally headed for home after an eventful day of weather and sailing out on the gulf. On the way back up the harbour, they continued to practice many gybes and even a few aggressive circles all the way up to Stanley Point. They were really trying to push them around. One or two were semi successful with a touch and go, and the third eventuated in a full touch down. They displacement sailed back towards the chase boat before rounding up and commencing sails down at 14:20.

The team arrived back at the dock at 14:40 and we were able to get in a chat with Flight Controller, Andy Maloney, who seemed pretty happy with what they had gotten out of the day on the water. 

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