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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupHigh Drama at Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s Jeddah Training Camp: A Nosedive...

High Drama at Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s Jeddah Training Camp: A Nosedive Turns Perfect Conditions into a Challenge

Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s training camp in Jeddah takes an unexpected twist, emphasizing the team’s ability to address setbacks and showcasing the dynamic nature of America’s Cup preparations.

37th America’s Cup recon··Alinghi Red Bull Racing··AC40··D67

For the Arnaud Psarofaghis and Nicolas Charbonnier driven AC40 it was an afternoon of shadow-boxing against the computer and eyeing both technique and time-on-distance to make the most of a difficult and disappointing situation. The opportunity to test out the in-house built J3-3 LE jib was presented by a building breeze that topped out mid-afternoon at 22 knots, proving once again the incredible sailing conditions that the Red Sea port of Jeddah presents to the sailing world. 

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Only one short meaningful flight could be conducted before the capsize with the Red team struggling with onboard issues thereafter despite the sailors’ best efforts to keep going. Ultimately the right decision was made, and the Chase Boat team towed the boat back to the team’s Obhur Creek base, leaving Arnaud and Nicolas to put the hammer down and get some vital time in the boat.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Yves Detrey, who was the trimmer sat behind Maxime Bachelin on the capsized AC40 came to the recon interview and gave his assessment after sailing saying: “It started very well, great conditions, we did a bit of a warm up and stop for some checks and went back on the foils and bore-away and we capsized on that bear-away so we’ll find out tonight what we did wrong because many things can happen in a bear-away but definitely something went wrong…it could be our settings you know we have to have a proper ride height, proper trim on the sails, were we enough eased and traveller down or the rate of turn, we have to analyse that then find out what went wrong.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Asked if it was pre-set issue, Yves responded: “No it’s not a pre-set but obviously we’ve been sailing yesterday with a lot more breeze and a lot more waves and we didn’t have any issues, and you know it could be also a little bit of a moment that you’re not 100% and if you’re not 100% with these boats, you capsize.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Admirable ‘mea culpa’ from this double-winner of the America’s Cup who has seen it all before who was also asked whether the team will be rolling out any new appendage tech in the coming days: “I don’t think we’re going to see anything crazy coming up, but you know it’s the America’s Cup, we keep developing and you’ll find out soon enough what’s coming.” And asked what systems were affected, Yves added: “They (the technicians) weren’t happy with some alarms so I’m not sure exactly what alarm but some of the HMI were probably having some issues so they did try to replace them on the water and we tried again, and it wasn’t successful for them, it wasn’t good enough, so we had to go back in…they will check everything now, make sure the boats are ready for tomorrow.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Tough day in the Saudi Arabian office but the debrief will no doubt be thorough, and the superb shore team of Alinghi Red Bull Racing will have everything fixed-up by the morning and ready to go again. No harm done. One of those days. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – Alinghi Red Bull Racing: Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out their AC40-4 (Red) and AC40-7 (Black) at 08:55 and 09:20 respectively. Routine checks were carried out. A rigger was seen up the mast re-threading a halyard on the Red boat. Crew combinations remained the same as the previous day but swapped boats. Both boats docked out at 12:15, following a 45-minute delay from the original plan.

Stint 1 (12:55 – 13:00)
The teams sailed south to the racing area in front of the Jeddah Waterfront, performing a few warm-up manoeuvres. Sea state was initially relatively flat but starting to build.

Stint 2 (13:05 – 13:30, 13-17kn 305° @ 13:05)
This stint involved a long upwind leg of split tacks, followed by a tacking duel toward the end. The boats rounded a stationary chase boat, then sailed back downwind, performing split gybes. Notably, the Black boat clipped the starboard start mark, which was then exchanged for a windward gate mark.

Stint 3 (13:40 – 13:55, 13-16kn 315° @ 13:30, 15-19kn 305° @ 13:40)
As the boats set off, Red nosedived on the bear away and subsequently capsized. The Black boat completed a short upwind/downwind circuit while the red boat was being righted. The wind and a sharp chop started to increase as the stint got underway.

Stint 4 (14:00 – 14:10)
The Red boat was put on a long tow line and an electronics tech jumped on board, spending some time below the foredeck before fitting a new Windex on the bowsprit. Meanwhile ⁠the Black boat started sailing around the area with two boards down, before setting off on another short upwind/downwind.

Stint 5 (14:15 – 14:20, 15-19kn 310° @ 14:15)
Both boats set off, but the red boat stopped shortly after, with a hydraulics tech jumping on board. The crew were also seen looking up the mast. A hydraulics tech boarded the boat. Meanwhile Black continued sailing.

Stint 6 (14:30 – 14:40)
While works continued on the Red boat, the Black boat continued short upwind/downwind sailing, practicing manoeuvres, and more often than not sailing with both boards down.

Stint 7 (14:45 – 14:50, 14-18.5kn 310° @ 14:40)
The Black boat continued with mark rounding practices and approaches to the start line. Electronics and hydraulics techs Matt Kelly and Mathew Leydon continued to work on the Red boat. 

Stint 8 (15:20 – 15:30, 18-22kn 310° @ 15:20)
The OD jib was dropped on the black boat. The safety diver was seen below the foredeck, seemingly exchanging batteries before hoisting the new J3-2 LE jib and sailing long stretches upwind and downwind. Further upwind, the Red boat sailed for a short period. The wind increased, averaging 18/19 knots, with gusts measured up to 22 knots, along with an aggressive chop.

Stint 9 (15:35 – 15:45)
Further practice with the LE sail was carried out, performing a couple of leeward mark roundings, one of which was a JK manoeuvre. Meanwhile the Red boat dropped the sails and abandoned sailing.

Stint 10 (15:55 – 16:10)
The Black boat executed a few more manoeuvres and concluded with a sail back to base. The Red boat was towed back to base on foil.

In the post sailing interview, Yves Detrey, port side trimmer of the Red boat, claimed persistent alarms below deck and issues with the HMI, prevented the team from resuming training, hinting at further works to be carried out overnight. The team spent just over four hours on the water, with 110 minutes of sailing time. A total of 69 manoeuvres were observed, with a 90% fully foiling rate.

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