Monday, February 26, 2024
HomeRegattaAmerica's CupAlinghi Red Bull Racing Embraces Red Sea Escape for Intensive Match-Race Training

Alinghi Red Bull Racing Embraces Red Sea Escape for Intensive Match-Race Training

As the European winter sets in, Alinghi Red Bull Racing seizes a valuable training opportunity by leaving both AC40s in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, post the second Preliminary Regatta. This strategic move enables the team to escape the chilly European weather and immerse themselves in a focused match-race training regimen on the pristine waters of the Red Sea.

Docking out in unison at 12.20pm, it was a complete mix-up in the crews with Arnaud Psarofaghis teaming up with Nicolas Charbonnier on one AC40 whilst Maxime Bachelin and Phil Robertson joined forces on the other. This rotation, aped too in the crews, is aimed squarely at raising everyone’s game collectively whilst allowing zero complacency to creep in.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

From the get-go it was clear that this was going to be an afternoon of high-intensity pre-start practice and full-on race mode with no quarter given. In perfect conditions, the Arnaud/Nicolas (Red) boat looked overall sharper (see stint analysis below) but this is training and a whole variety of factors need to be taken into account. Great first day in Jeddah though.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Speaking afterwards, Pietro Sibello, one of the Team Coaches for Alinghi Red Bull Racing appeared pleased with the training block saying: “We started today, great conditions, the plan is to work on the match-racing with the guys under pressure and do a bunch of pre starts which we did really well today and a lot of fun racing in these two boats…It was a successful day, first day on the water, the boat were really reliable so well done to the to the shore team to prepare everything and the guys after a late income yesterday with a late plane could sail really well and push already in this condition so successful day.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Singing the praises of on-water training in the AC40 in comparison with the AC75 and SIM training, Pietro added: “It’s important to train for match-races, there are some similarities of course but there is also something different and the size of the boat is making a big difference you know the dynamics and how quickly you can turn the boat is for sure different and if you are on auto pilot as well is quite different to the AC75 where you sail in manual mode for the flight….I think the reality on the water is still better, you know. Also, when you are on the boat on the water you really feel the pressure or what you’re doing well, on the SIM it’s still hard to make it happen, so better to be on the water always.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Clearly buoyed by the showing in the Preliminary Regatta held in Jeddah, Pietro detailed the approach to this training camp saying: “Now that we have raised the level quite a lot in the team, we have to push and make sure that the pressure is on like if we’re racing it.”

On-Water Recon Report – Alinghi Red Bull Racing: Alinghi Red Bull Racing embarked on their third trip to Jeddah, rolling out their AC40-4 (Red) and AC40-7 (Black) at 09:00 and 09:40 respectively. Routine systems checks were conducted, with no new components observed except for a longer media mast on the Black boat. Both boats carried One Design sails, and the J3-2 LE jib was on Chase Bravo.

Arnaud Psarofaghis and Nico Charbonnier helmed the Red boat, with Bryan Mettraux and Nico Rolaz trimming. Phil Robertson and Maxime Bachelin helmed the Black boat, with Jason Waterhouse and Yves Detrey trimming.

Stint 1 (12:40 – 12:50)
A quick downwind warmup to the racecourse set in front of the Jeddah Waterfront. The 1NM course was set at 310 degrees, remaining at this heading for the whole day.

Stint 2 (12:55 – 13:05, 15-19kn 325° @ 12:50)
Both boats sailed two warmup laps of the course independently in preparation for pre-start practice.

Stint 3 (13:10 – 13:25, 15-19kn 320-325° @ 13:15)
The first pre-start practice saw the Black boat starting on time, while the Red boat started almost 10 seconds later. A more aggressive pre-start battle occurred in the second start, with the Black boat holding out the Red and starting ahead. Both boats sailed back to the start and stopped to debrief, with a hydraulics technician temporarily on board the Red boat.

Stint 4 (13:35 – 13:55, 14-17kn 325° @ 13:35)
In the third start, the Black boat entered on port while the Red boat entered on starboard. Both boats managed to start on time at the pin end, with the Black boat slightly in front. The Red boat, positioned to windward, was able to sail over the Black boats tack at the boundary. A tacking battle ensued halfway upwind, with the Red boat successfully leveraging its windward position to stay on top of the Black boat. The fourth start began with the Black boat entering on port and the Red boat on starboard. Red chases Black from behind, eventually forcing an error from the Black boat, allowing Red to sail ahead to clear start. A short upwind leg followed, with the Red boat maintaining its lead before turning downwind. The stint concluded with another break for debriefing.

Stint 5 (14:00 – 14:15, 15-19kn 305-315° @ 14:00)
The fifth start saw the Red boat entering on port and the Black boat on starboard. The Red boat kept space between the boats and defended its position well from the front, maintaining two boards down as the Black boat attempted to catch up. Red controlled from the start, leading the short upwind. As the boats prepared for another start, the Red boat experienced a handling error in the chop, causing a significant touchdown. This incident resulted in a 10-minute pause in sailing, allowing time for the team to regroup and address any potential issues.

Stint 6 (14:30 – 14:50, 14-18kn 310° @ 14:15)
The first race was closely contested, with the Red boat controlling and finishing ahead. The recon boat experienced an issue, losing the lower cowling of the port outboard, and slowly returned to base.

Stint 7 (14:55 – 15:10)
A second race to the windward gate was carried out, with the Red boat leading at the gate.

The team spent three hours on the water, with 95 minutes of sailing time. A total of 52 manoeuvres were observed, with an 87% fully foiling rate. The day focused heavily on pre-starts and a bit of race practice.

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