Fresh from a successful regatta in Abu Dhabi, Emirates Team New Zealand commenced the commissioning process for their new starboard foil on the LEQ12. The mast-less tow-test session marked the beginning of an intense period as the team finalizes foil designs for their AC75 raceboat, aiming to defend the 37th America’s Cup in Barcelona in October 2024.
What we saw dockside was a step-on again in terms of refinement and design of the new foil with a beefed-up leeway-reducing bulb, that is far more angular, sleeker and pointier, pushed well forward with a fine entry whilst the wing, beautifully aggressive in its angular depth around the mid-point is hanging off the back of the bulb similar in style to the ubiquitous design we see on beach-launched wing foilers. Interestingly, the recon team noted that they could only make out a flap on the inner (port) side of the foil but further shots will be taken over the coming days to confirm.
All over the long span of the foil itself (single flap perhaps?) we can see hugely refined aero touches that are straight out of the computer as the gull-like wing follows a swooping form to the gently raised tiplets. The recon team took a visual and noted that there appears to be more area in the rear of the foil and a thinner leading edge. Strikingly the foil arm itself is slender in profile when in comparison with the port foil that was introduced pre-Christmas with the ‘aero-bomb’ – the fill-out area above the foil that achieves minimum weight – being slenderer on the new foil, perhaps indicating greater volume down in both the wing and the bulb. Five fences adorn the inner area where the foil arm intersects with the surface of the water, something that Emirates Team New Zealand have clearly seen gains in terms of surface wash mitigation and are pursuing. Today both bottom and top cameras were mounted on the rear section of the bulb at the intersection with the wing.
All in all, what we are seeing in foil design in the top teams in this America’s Cup cycle is this step-on, logical refinement in foil design with almost all going down one specific route to produce both dynamic lift to ‘pop’ the hull early, low drag and high manoeuvrability. Today’s session was a brief 50 minutes tow-out and tow-back with a technician onboard working inside the hull before the team put the mast and sails on tomorrow for the first sailing session with the new set-up.
Blair Tuke, speaking to the recon team afterwards, ran through the session saying: “Yeah we’re obviously just off the plane and so we wanted to do a few systems checks ahead of sailing this week, seeing the new foil on the boat which is pretty exciting, so just checking that out and then we’ve got a big week of sailing ahead so nice to just get out and ease in with a quick 45 minutes like that and get out of here and rest up for a bit before the big week.”
And Blair continued: “We obviously had a few things to check through…today was pretty chill really…obviously been a little bit of rain around and big tides. There’s a bit of debris in the water, one massive log that the Chase Boat just missed so you obviously want to be pretty careful of that especially in the inner harbour.”
Emirates Team New Zealand will be back on the water for a longer summer session tomorrow but all eyes are on the Defender of the 37th America’s Cup as they bring their lengthy design work and build processes to a conclusion. (Magnus Wheatley)
On-Water Recon Report – Emirates Team New Zealand: First session back for 2024 for Emirates Team New Zealand on the LEQ12. Session 53.
The team came straight from flying back from Abu Dhabi. The plan was for roll out at 12:30pm but was delayed waiting for the sailors to get to the base.
There was a lot of interest shown in the boat this morning during the roll-out. Will wait for declarations but Blair Tuke mentioned new foils were being used today. In the interview Blair Tuke mentioned the plan was to test all the onboard systems so they can focus on a big week of training ahead.
They took what seemed to be an engineer or designer on board the LEQ12 who was underneath the deck for the first half of the session leaving the port driver seat free.
The person came up on deck at the mid-point of the session and then sat in the driver spot presumably not driving though.
It was flat water with a steady 10 knot NE with some gusts. Very flat water on the SW side of Rangitoto where they towed to. At that point they did a big circle and then finished it and came off the foils to look at the starboard foil.
They then towed back towards the harbour bridge where they turned to port before coming back to base. Sea state overall was calm with mild chop.
Session was 50 minutes with only 5 minutes of stoppage time in the middle of the session.