Tuesday, February 27, 2024
HomeRegattaAmerica's CupINEOS Britannia Joins Training in Jeddah as Alinghi Red Bull Racing Intensifies...

INEOS Britannia Joins Training in Jeddah as Alinghi Red Bull Racing Intensifies Dual Boat Sessions

INEOS Britannia became the second AC40 to train in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia today with Alinghi Red Bull Racing continuing their relentless two-boat training out on the Preliminary Regatta racecourse just off the stunning Jeddah Corniche. The sense of anticipation is building in the vibrant city port and shoreside is a whirl of activity as all the teams get ready for what promises to be a thrilling regatta.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Whilst INEOS Britannia trained in full one-design mode (and hence no recon following them), Alinghi Red Bull Racing continued their testing, taking their two AC40s out of one-design mode with the introduction of a new mainsail – the M1-3 – and running the alternate J1-3 and J1-4 variable aspect jibs. Once again Dean Barker and Phil Robertson took the wheels on the red-denominated boat as the designated team for the Preliminary Regatta of Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin, Bryan Mettraux and Yves Detrey had the use of the newest mainsail and the J1-3.

Interesting to read the on-water recon observations early on in the session where Arnaud and Maxime took off, tacked and then splashed down on a second tack. Raising the windward foil, a lump of seaweed could be seen on the foils that required clearing. This could be a significant factor in the racing in Jeddah as the temperate waters are a perfect breeding ground for the gulfweed and sea-tangle and will require the leeward helms and trimmer to keep a keen eye forward.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

In an afternoon marred by marginal foiling conditions of between 5-9 knots, once again we saw the importance of attaining and retaining flight to give a major advantage. Robertson and Barker seemed to lack horsepower with the sail set-up of the M1-2 mainsail and the J1-4 jib whilst the Psarofaghis and Bachelin team appeared far more at ease, getting up on the foils, trimming beautifully and getting another vital session under their belts.

Speaking afterwards, co-General Manager of Alinghi Red Bull Racing, Silvio Arrivabene, one of the coolest team bosses in this America’s Cup cycle spoke about the feeling in the camp ahead of the regatta, saying: “Well busy and plenty to do of course on every front but you know happy and it’s a great event and a great opportunity…it’s a new team, although made of experienced people in some areas and new people in other areas, so we’ve been trying to gel it together and we’re doing it every day and we’re trying to do it every day.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

With building expectation around Alinghi Red Bull Racing, Silvio put it in perspective saying: “A good result is to sail well and be proud of what we do and then if the others are stronger, our hat’s off, and if we’re stronger, then good… we’ll see how everyone goes and will try to check in since Vilanova and see if we worked in the right direction and we’re able to improve.” Asked to deliver a message to fans of the Swiss team, Silvio proffered: “Follow us, it’s going to be great sailing here next week and we hope to deliver you a good result.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Alinghi Red Bull Racing were on the water for a little over 3 hours, completed 115 minutes of sailing time and (the Black denominated AC40) performed 34 manoeuvres with a foil-to-foil ratio of 76% including attempting a tack downwind in preference of a gybe to keep foiling. Interesting technique. The Swiss are ‘on it’ at the moment ahead of racing next week.

On-Water Recon Report – Alinghi Red Bull Racing: Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out their AC40-4 (RED) and AC40-7 (BLACK) at 09:15 and 09:45 respectively and both boats were in the water by 10:15. Pre-sailing checks were carried out, LEQ mainsails and LEQ jibs were prepared for both boats ahead of 12:30 dock out.

The M1-3 LE, a new mainsail, and the J1-3 LE jib, were hoisted on the Black boat, helmed by Arnaud Psarofaghis and Max Bachelin. Meanwhile, the M1-2 LE mainsail and J1-4 LE jib, were hoisted on the Red boat, helmed by Phil Robertson and Dean Barker.

Stint 1: 7-9kn 265° @ 13:05: Sailing commenced at 13:05. The Black boat initiated with a foiling tack but touched down on the second attempt. Seaweed on the starboard foil was identified and cleared. Clumps of seaweed floating in the sailing area is common. Meanwhile, the Red boat, struggled to generate sufficient power for take-off, eventually necessitating a tow start. The Black boat, after a couple more touch-downs, managed consistent foiling as the wind stabilised 20 minutes into the stint. Notably, the Black boat experimented with a tack instead of a gybe while sailing downwind and concluded at the course start gate. In contrast, the Red boat continued to have issues taking off and required another tow back to the start.

Stint 2: 6-8kn 265° @ 14:05: The Black boat sailed around the short 0.5NM course set at 275, likely emulating a race scenario shortened course and mark roundings. The Red boat spent this time debriefing with the Chase Boat. This stint only lasted 15 minutes as the two boats re-gathered to attempt racing in Stint 3.

Stint 3: 5-8kn 270° @ 14:30: Both boats faced challenges in take-off in the dwindling wind, which further decreased from the start of the stint down to around 6kn. The Red boat was tow started while the Black boat managed a self-take-off but touched down during tacks. Attempts for both boats to self-take-off on a reach back to base were unsuccessful, leading to tow starts. This stint saw no foiling manoeuvres achieved by either boat. The session concluded with sails dropped at 15:30, bringing the day’s sailing to an end.

Post-sailing, both yachts were craned out by 16:30, concluding a day marked by sail testing and adapting to lighter wind conditions on the short course. The team spent three hours on the water, of which 115 minutes were spent sailing. 34 manoeuvres were observed of the Black boat, 76% fully foiling.

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