It was a late call in Auckland today (Monday) as Emirates Team New Zealand waited until the early afternoon for the breeze to settle from a transitory state before heading out at 2pm to get a couple of hours of what looked like sail shape testing in before the wind shut down for the evening.
On beautiful flat water and 10-12 knots of north-easterly, the Kiwis took the opportunity to explore a variety of twists and playing with leeway control upwind – pinned and high or twisted off for speed – before taking some long starboard runs out on the new port foil which was shorn of all cameras today. In previous sessions the team has run a camera just on the top of the foil looking both inwards and outwards, today it was all about all-out data and getting some ‘feel’ for what will most likely be the basis for their AC75 foils in the very near future.
In flight on the port foil, it’s noticeable just how stable the boat is and how Andy Maloney and Blair Tuke, the two Flight Controllers, can just keep her in trim with minimal traveller adjustment and select whatever modes the helms Pete Burling and Nathan Outteridge, call for. The single flap that runs all the way along and looks to be pivoted at the bulb (zoom in to see), minimises control demands and very much feels a logical step-forward in AC wing design. Quite what will translate up to the much more powerful AC75 is an educated guess but if they can build in that much stability in the AC40 then it bodes well for the AC75.
The recon team noted various sail shapes on display throughout the afternoon which was cut short with a problem on the starboard wing that cause the sailors to stop, and Blair Tuke climbed out to check and report on an unspecified issue. Where he was looking was around the bulb join and speculation was that the foil arm “had delaminated or its adhesion to the inner structural part of the arm had failed” according to the on-site recon team. The team were confident that the problem wasn’t a show-stopper, continued to sail and then called it a day just after 4pm and are scheduled to continue training this week.
Speaking afterwards, Blair Tuke spoke to the recon team and confirmed the issue saying: “We had a small issue on the starboard side so yeah it was a little bit frustrating, didn’t completely stop us but once we’d got what we need out of the day that we just called it and tow in, still a pretty productive day. It’s amazing even on shorter days how much you can learn you know for the campaign but real shame that we had an issue there.”
The positives for the day though were the longer runs where this most technical and accurate of teams could stretch out on the foils and play with modes as Blair confirmed: “A steady breeze, good time to try and lock into some modes and some different set-ups so yeah played around with a number of things probably one of our longer boards for a while don’t normally do that as a manoeuvres especially here in Tāmaki Makaurau where an island or something gets up on the way but we got a pretty nice run from what would have been probably Cheltenham all the way up to Torbay on starboard, so it was a it was a good little run.”
A good afternoon for Emirates Team New Zealand – the Christmas grind goes on. (Magnus Wheatley)
On-Water Recon Report – Emirates Team New Zealand: With a 14:00 dock out time for day 50 of LEQ12 testing, Emirates Team New Zealand were obviously planning to sail the NE sea breeze this afternoon. With a low cloud cover across the Auckland Region, we unfortunately, only managed to see 10-12 knots average which then died to less than 10 knots further North toward the end of the testing session off Long Bay.
With the normal crew on board, the yacht was towed from the base out passed North Head, and sails were hoisted off Cheltenham Beach. The sails for the entire session today were the M2-3 and J2-2. The team started the session off with a light air self-take-off, and apart from the first low speed tack of the session, managed to sail quite a few dry laps between north head and Rangitoto Light House. It was tough to see exactly what the team were working on here as the boat modes and sail trim all looked pretty locked in with not too much to see with the naked eye. There were definitely more tacks than necessary performed, so for sure, this was part of the days testing schedule.
There seemed to be some concern from the team around the starboard foil arm lower section connection point cover/boot halfway between the main arm and the foil on the outboard side. This was examined in some detail including what looked like, some photos taken from Blair Tuke off the yacht and then I assume sent over to the coach boat/designers back on shore.
After this short break and discussion, the team were off sailing again on a long starboard tack all the way up toward Torbay. The boat heel and pitch modes looked quite stable, but it seemed the team were testing different sail trims/twist profiles. In the more twisty, faster mode, the boat seemed to slip more easily and looked to create a bit of leeway. When they were running a more vertical leech profile, the boat looked more locked, stable and seemed to climb to windward more easily. In this mode however the boat speed seemed slightly lower, but definitely gained in height and potentially VMG.
Finally, off Torbay, the team tacked. Blair Tuke went down to leeward to inspect the starboard foil arm as they sailed along and then slowly bore away. Again, something was not right here, and the team dropped the windward board and performed a slow displacement tack back onto starboard. Here, they again too off on starboard, just managing to pop in what was now a marginal 8-10 knots off the North Shore. They sailed only for a very short time in this dying breeze on starboard before obviously agreeing to call the session done and dropped sails at 15:24.
Within 15 minutes they were on the foil and heading home. On the tow, the team set the starboard foil arm canted as high as possible to try and keep the lower arm/boot portion out of the water whilst still on a foil tow. After the lift out, we were able to see various people inspecting this outer boot/cover section on the arm. By the way people were inspecting and tapping it, we can only assume it had delaminated or its adhesion to the inner structural part of the arm had failed. Nobody seemed too concerned with the issue, and the intentions were still to sail again tomorrow or the following day. Visibly, there was nothing we could see from our standpoint.