Monday, February 26, 2024
HomeRegattaAmerica's CupLuna Rossa Prada Pirelli Pushes Limits in High-Action Sail

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Pushes Limits in High-Action Sail

The full pro-team of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli engaged in a high-action lunchtime sail, launching both their LEQ12 and AC40. The relentless building breeze and sea-state provided ideal conditions for pushing the limits, with anemometers registering 23 knots at sea-level. The Italians showcased their prowess, putting the pedal to the metal and demanding more from their vessels.

© Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

In short, they were simply sensational over a three-hour session having docked-out at 11.25am into a tricky and confused forecast that demanded both huge accuracy and co-ordination from the helms and Flight Controllers on both boats. Jimmy Spithill and Marco Gradoni took charge of the LEQ12 whilst Francesco Bruni and Ruggero Tita looked fast and totally in control on the AC40. When the two boats lined up on a start line, the additional horsepower of the tricked-up LEQ12 looked to have the upper hand but some fast starting and smart tactics from the AC40 team had them well in contention.

From a recon perspective, the LEQ12 had its deeper rudder back on today and in flight it was noticeable the bow-up mode that Andrew Tesei and Vittorio Bissaro were running although that most likely will have been sensible sailing in the sea-state and overall conditions. Running at astonishing speeds and with remarkable consistency, both boats looked to be being pushed hard over short courses where they largely sailed their own race before bailing out before the top mark.

© Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

With the winds increasing at 2pm to the upper limits, sensibly the day was called by the support team and both boats were towed back to base. Gilberto Nobili, Operations Manager for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli spoke to the Recon Team and clearly they, and all the teams in this AC cycle, are itching to take delivery of their new AC75 saying: “It was a beautiful day in Cagliari, quite a bit of wind today, first day for Luna Rossa with two boats in the water, big team effort but it’s a good value for us to have the ability to train two crews together at the same time and learn a lot…we try for the next few weeks two boat testing to try to maximise the use of the prototype and the AC40. In the meantime, we are preparing the big boat for the Cup, so we need to try to keep the sailing crew busy and try to learn as much as possible for the final detailing of the big boat.”

© Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

Whilst it was wet and wild in Cagliari, it was a very different story in Barcelona with a falling breeze that never materialised to its promised forecast. NYYC American Magic were the only team to give the conditions a go and towed out to near the airport to search for wind. It never came and the team towed back to base with the next sailing day scheduled for Wednesday this week. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli: On their 110th sailing day, the Italian team rolled out their AC40 (white) at 9:35 and their LEQ12(red) at 10:15, stepped masts and craned in respectively at 9:55 and 10:25. The team seemed to have mounted the previous longer version of the rudder blade on the red yacht.

Once the respective crew members boarded the pods, both yachts were docked out at 11:25. The forecast looked to be building with 14-16kn from 285 TWA with some long swell from 215° of approx. 0.5m in addition to large wind chop. On the red yacht, the main M2-1 was hoisted and paired to the J4 which was also hoisted on the white yacht.

As the pressure increased the lower 20’s the red yacht was being towed on foils on port tack before bearing-away for longer downwind runs on both tacks between some rather rare gybes. Considering the wind strength and the crossed sea-state, it was quite challenging and almost unfeasible for the Recon Unit RIB to follow the red yacht closely for proper footage.

After approx.15 minutes of straight-line sailing, the red yacht came off the foils in front of Poetto Bay where the pressure seemed more feasible with 13-15 knots from 315 but larger sea-state. The chase boats were laying down marks while the white yacht joined the picture for a quick sailing run before both yachts were brought off the foils.

Until this moment the yachts have probably been set for comparable performance without having engaged or lined up. At 12:30 both yachts were towed up on foils and, after some manoeuvres, the first of three pre-starts and time-on-distance drills were observed with the white yacht on starboard and the red on port entry. Red yacht seemed to prevail in all starts and both yachts sailed their own upwind leg without always rounding the top marks, instead bearing-away to practice additional starts. The red yacht was decelerated at 13:15 and the shore crew jumped onboard checking devices mounted on the aft instrumentation pole.

By then the pressure had increased to 21-23kn from 315 with larger chop overlapped to the longer south-westerly swell. After some time waiting, the day was called and sails were lowered on the red yacht at 13:30 with approximately 55 minutes foiling time and 26 tacks and 24 gybes [Michele Melis AC Recon].

ately, despite waiting for over an hour, the breeze got lighter, not stronger. After towing on foils back to the harbour mouth, the call was made to drop the unused mainsail and head for the dock – where the boat arrived at 1510. With another light wind forecast no sailing has been scheduled for tomorrow Tuesday January 16.

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