Thursday, February 22, 2024
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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupLuna Rossa Prada Pirelli Unveils LEQ12 After Youth & Women’s Team Training

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Unveils LEQ12 After Youth & Women’s Team Training

Despite the relatively modest 8-12 knots of breeze on the Bay of Angels in Sardinia, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli showcased their trademark high-octane performance today. The team revealed the LEQ12 after a week dedicated to AC40 sailing for their Youth & Women’s teams, demonstrating their commitment to excellence across all divisions.

Marco Gradoni, the young Italian sailing sensation was at the wheel after leading the Youth team training last week and rotated in with Ruggero Tita and Francesco Bruni for a day that had it all. Some blistering straight-lines were executed to get their eye-in and then the LEQ12 was set up against the onboard software for some electric pre-start action – quite how good those onboard programs have become is something that the sailing world waits to see – the evidence before us looks compelling however. Once the Chase Boat had dropped in a leeward gate and set the pre-start box we were treated to every move of the playbook with seemingly easy one-board round-ups, JK’s and two-board speed killers pre-start. Great session from the Italians…again.

© Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

Speaking afterwards, Marco Gradoni, summed up the day eloquently saying: “It was nice because today we went back into some waves and it is nice because it’s January but it feels like summer, sun, wind from the south, so it was good day like in waves and we were happy about our day and I think 100% foiling – that’s our goal.”

© Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

Asked about the relentless JK’s at the leeward marks, Marco simply responded: “There was some bias and we got some shifts so we were playing our best geometries…to be fair we were only one boat in the water so we just played the software but it would be nice to play against another boat but probably the next day we will do it.”

© Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

And when asked how excited he was to be a part of the Luna Rossa Youth team (if not the Cup boat itself), he classily responded: “Yeah the guys we sailed together last week it’s nice, they’re all super-good, it’s a pleasure to sail with them and it’s ‘funny’ so let’s hope we can do some racing against also Cecco, Jimmy and Rugi in the next few months.”

On-Water Recon Report – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli: After a week spent in the shed, the Luna Rossa rolled out their LEQ12 prototype at 8:30, stepped mast and craned the yacht in by 8:45. The usual checks were executed at the dock before locking in the M1-2 mainsail ready for dock-out scheduled at 10:30. The prototype was boarded by four sailors, who rotated with an additional two during the session. Just when exiting the harbour, the main was hoisted and paired to the J2-2 as the pressure was measured 9-11kn from 115TWA with a barely offset but significant chop of 0.4-0.6m from 120-125°.

The first foiling stint began with a light initial tow to accelerate the yacht which self-took-off on port tack. After some straight-line sailing, the team conducted some tacks before bearing away on port tack and executed some gybes. This routine was then repeated twice before a leeward gate was laid out and, perhaps, combined to a virtual windward gate. Then, two pre-starts were practiced while the team always sailed only short distances upwind before bearing away again to resume. Around the marks and inside the virtual pre-start box, all kinds of successful manoeuvres were observed, from one-board round ups, two-boards time, JKs (which occasionally turned into tack-bear-aways to kill time).

After 45 minutes of foiling, the yacht decelerated, sailors debriefed and swapped with those on Chase1. For the second foiling stint, lasting 20 minutes, the LEQ12 was towed up on port and bore away quickly to practice two additional pre-starts and sailing occasionally one upwind and one downwind leg. As the third foiling stint began, the team seemed to practice over and over normal round-ups on one board and round-up tacks on each mark but more often on the right hand one, perhaps slightly more favourable for sea-state direction and shifted pressure.

Between these drills, the LEQ12 sailed some upwind and downwind legs and finally practiced a pre-start entering on starboard. After almost 55 minutes foilborne, the yacht decelerated and came to a stop for another swap between sailors and checks by the shore crew.

For the fourth and last foiling stint, the yacht self-took-off after an initial pull by the Chase Boat, started sailing upwind for some tacks before bearing away on the virtual windward mark. Three additional starts were then practiced before the marks were removed. The LEQ12 then sailed towards the harbour alternating between hard bear aways and trim ups, finally coming off foil after approx. 40 minutes.

Overall, the LEQ12 looked very composed sailing through the sea-state and consistent executing successfully each manoeuvre. The day was called at 13:45 with 169 minutes foiling time, approximately 52 tacks and 41 gybes [Michele Melis AC Recon].

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