The day held promising prospects for NYYC American Magic, only to take an unexpected turn resulting in the cancellation of the afternoon session. A formidable Mistral wind, originating from the north, swept into the harbour entrance, creating challenging conditions with white-capped waves. The decision to cancel the training session was made with the safety and optimal training conditions of the team in mind within the America’s Cup racecourse in Barcelona.
Tom Burnham, Team Coach, praised both his helms and the RIB drivers for outstanding seamanship in holding the boat on station and summed up the day perfectly saying: “We were expecting it to be a little bit of a strange day, we knew there was a big Mistral blowing over a few miles away from us and we knew that line was there and it was pretty windy and there was a chance that the Mistral would get here to us, but we didn’t think it would happen until much later in the day and luckily the timing worked out that it came at just the right time that we had the mainsail up and we were about to pull the jib up and then all of a sudden we’re getting 30 knot puffs and before we bore away and went outside the harbour…really lucky we were able to just make the call quickly there to take the mainsail down and get back in the dock before anything bad happened.”
The American team will be back on the water tomorrow, with Tom hedging his bets saying: “Our forecast looks like it’s pretty good tomorrow morning, we’ll see what happens, it’s a really tricky period but tomorrow morning looks pretty good and it actually looks like it’s quite light tomorrow afternoon so who knows what we’ll get…We actually had a J1 on the Chase Boat today thinking that it might be quite light airs for a couple of hours but obviously that didn’t materialise so anyway we’ll wake up in the morning and see what’s happening.”
On-Water Recon Report – NYYC American Magic: The sudden and unexpected arrival of Mistral conditions on the waters off Barcelona put paid to American Magic’s plans for this week’s second day of sailing aboard their previous-generation AC75 Patriot – despite the boat being ready to go at the harbour entrance with its mainsail up at 1320 this afternoon.
With the forecast previously calling for light directionally unstable winds in the 7-10 knot range, after rolling out at 0850 and launching by 1125, the team included the J1-6 headsail in the sails loaded aboard the chase boat for the day.
However, by the time the boat left the dock on the stroke of 1300 a northerly breeze had kicked in at around 15 knots and was kicking up white cap waves in the harbour. With the breeze blowing straight out of the harbour the team used a side tow to slowly back the boat towards the harbour entrance while hoisting the mainsail. Meanwhile the Americans’ larger Chase Boat headed out of the harbour to assess the conditions – which were deteriorating quickly, with the wind strength measured on the recon boat ramping up sharply from 15 knots to 21 knots in just a few minutes.
With the wind still increasing, the team made the decision at 1330 to cancel the hoist of the headsail midway through and to drop the mainsail before heading back to the dock for the day. With lighter winds forecast for tomorrow morning the team is hoping to be able to squeeze in an early session ahead of a forecast of super light winds in the afternoon.