Monday, February 26, 2024
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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupEmirates Team NZ Prioritizes Foil Testing in Auckland's Ideal Summer Conditions

Emirates Team NZ Prioritizes Foil Testing in Auckland’s Ideal Summer Conditions

Returning to proper sailing action on the Hauraki Gulf today (Friday) after a tow-test session on Thursday, it was clear that foil and foil cant system control were very much the desired testing schedule for Emirates Team New Zealand in champagne Auckland summer conditions with 12-17 knots from the west and flat, stable waters.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Long runs, and plenty of straight-lines gave the Flight Control team of Andy Maloney and Blair Tuke plenty of runway to play with and with the team’s LEQ12 now fitted with a battery of displays set before both the helms and crews in neatly aero moulded cases, it’s very clear that the Kiwis are stepping up their analysis programme and really digging into every aspect of what makes foiling monohulls tick.

What looks like an iPad (or similar) and a few other displays could be seen in the recon shots – a step on from the standard one-design version of the AC40. Interestingly today the LiDAR thermal imaging cameras that are set on quite wide carbon arms on both sides of the LEQ12 crew pods were trained upwards at the shrouds and what looked like enhanced foot trimming purchases were added, running back to the mainsail traveller.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Photos taken from the dockside at both foils would appear to reveal no standard flaps on either trailing edge of the foils themselves (see picture above) and zooming in on the area where the port foil camera is mounted just behind the connection to the foil arm itself, it would appear quite possibly that the whole wing is actually articulated in its entirety in unison from a central mid-point, similar in style perhaps to a large aeroplane wing at take-off and landing. We saw something similar on the LEQ12 moded NYYC American Magic AC40’s in early summer.

Meanwhile on the inboard part of the wing are two clear areas where either sensor pads are attached, or additional articulation is effected, whilst the wing tips themselves look to be of a different material to the carbon – perhaps a flexure here? What is very clear is that the wing technology is moving on at pace in all the team’s development and the Kiwis are no different.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Out on the water, the LEQ12 didn’t just look good, it looked pretty sensational with helmsmen Pete Burling and Nathan Outteridge pushing it into uncomfortable modes and angles with the boat responding beautifully. This very much looked a step-on from their last sailing session in Auckland before heading off to Jeddah with the team pushing through a very high number of test modes but really using the cant effectively to bring it down low and fast in the puffs. Watching the recon video closely, the micro trim on the cant system is evident whilst the sail control trim was 100% on point all afternoon.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

A solid three-hour session begins an intense period before the festive break and speaking afterwards, Blair Tuke appeared pleased to be back into training saying: “Yeah great to be back into it, last block before Christmas holiday time, westerly breeze anywhere between 12 and probably 17 knots so nice to get back out there. We put the boat through its paces, we never really put a huge amount of emphasis on these first day’s back, it takes a little bit for us to get back with the control after a few weeks off…but pretty much back in the swing of things, a few things to try so there was more focus on the straight line today and we’ll just see how that goes over the next week. Still a few things for us to tick off before the Christmas break so, we’ll go back and review now, and then see how we attack the next 10 days…each time we go out we’ve got a list of things we want to get through and today we saw the boat sailed in a few different modes at times so pretty happy with how that was going.”

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Plenty to work on for Emirates Team New Zealand – the next few days are going to be full-on. 

(Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – Emirates Team New Zealand: Day 48 of testing on the LEQ12 for Emirates Team New Zealand started with an 11:50 roll-out and crane-in before docking out at 13:00. With a puffy but consistent average of around 15 knots from the WNW at around 250 degrees, most of the training session today was based out between Motutapu, Rangitoto and the North Shore beaches.

The team towed out toward Cheltenham Beach and hoisted here in the lee of the shore. Sails used today were the M2-3 Main and J3-1 Jib. The session started slow, with a hold on sailing for around 20 minutes while an issue was being fixed remotely by the team at the base. Eventually, the team were able to start sailing at around 14:15.

With only 7 race tacks and 1 gybe seen today, most of the session was based around straight-line testing. Most of the sailing consisted of long port tacks down wind and long starboard tacks upwind. It was claimed by Blair, a bit of today’s session was getting back used to the LEQ12 after the time apart, but it was also evident there was a lot of emphasis on sailing different modes especially upwind. The team could be sailing high angle high flight modes with lower cant angles, piercing cant down modes, and even very neutral pitch modes to the point where the boat looked bow up at times. The boat looked to handle all the modes well and everyone seemed happy with the days sailing.

After a few long up and downs between Rangitoto, Motutapu and the North Shore, the team headed back toward the base at around 15:15. On the way back the team were sailing two boards down at times, practising bear aways, and even reaching and upwind modes. They did a few of these tests before lifting up the windward foil again and sailing the final upwind on starboard towards Mechanics Bay where they eventually shut the boat down and dropped sails at 15:35.

They docked in at 16:00 and we had the pleasure to speak with Flight Controller Blair Tuke to ask him some questions about the day.

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