There was more than one declaration today in Cagliari, Sardinia with Luna Rossa first of all declaring by dint of sheer sailing talent that they are going to be a mighty force in the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup but then a few hours later, following suit with Emirates Team New Zealand and Alinghi Red Bull Racing in declaring their firm intention to launch the new AC75 in just two short months’ time.
On-Water Recon Report – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli: The Italians rolled out their LEQ12(red) at 7:45, craned in at 8:05 as the AC40(white) was already floating. Dock-out was scheduled at 09:00, only helms swapped between boats compared to the previous day and two cameras were again fitted on Wing04 and one on Wing01. As red was being towed out of the harbour a thick fog forced the team to dock back in and stand by.
Approximately an hour later, both boats were towed towards La Sella del Diavolo where the offshore pressure was first measured 7-9kn from 305° with flat water. The first iteration of mainsail M1-1 was paired to the J1.5-2 on red and the M1 OD was paired to J1 OD on white.
As both boats started lining-up distanced on each tack, the bottom gate was being setup. The pressure seemed to be increasing slightly and hence the J2 was hoisted on white. In the meantime, the red boat kept on practicing starts on its own, focussing on the successful execution of full circles once in the box.
At 10:45 the 1st pre-start drill was run with red on port, circling around the Committee Boat and able to chase down white. White trimmed up and tacked, red bore away and gybed. When approaching the line, red was faster and better timed so being able to start undisturbed from white which was behind.
Similar entry strategy for the 2nd start which saw the white boat start ahead, slightly more to windward. As the boats were racing, red gained the lead with a wind shift and led all the upwind and downwind crosses.
The 3rd pre-start unfolded at 11:05 and saw red pushing white approaching the line, white more to leeward, red tacked to port once started. When racing, white matched red on each tack, winning the race.
The 4th start saw red on port, sailing its circle and chasing down white. On the line, the boats seemed to have started evenly with a gap between the two.
On the 5th drill, white on port entry, it was an aggressive battle coming up and white seemed to be early over the line.
On the 6th, red touched down exiting the full circle and had to reset to take off, white took advantage chasing red down and both started slightly late, red behind white. Racing was live with red tacking early splitting the course and white was ahead on the upwind crosses. The race was then abandoned as red fell off the foils on the top side of course where the breeze seemed less favourable.
At 11:35 the J1.5 was lowered on red and so was the J2 on white, to increase the sail plan with respectively J1-1 and J1 OD. As the breeze was decreasing, the team seemed to work on the removal of one of the port foil cameras with a hammer! As the LEQ12 was towed up on foils, it did not survive its first tack on the top of the course, with the pressure too marginal.
At 11:55 the prototype was up foiling and the 7th pre-start drill was run with red on port. After the usual strategy in the box both boats seemed to start on time with red slightly more vulnerable and tacking right away.
Similarly, the 8th drill unfolded shortly after with white on port. Approaching the line white was slightly more leeward, dropped the board to roll onto port tack, red matched and white rolled straight back to starboard tack. The boats started racing, white in front of the red on the first cross in the shifty light air, beginning to affect red which bore away building to tack but came off the foils exiting the manoeuvre.
On the 9th start, red was on port and managed to start slightly more to windward than white which laid down to the pin. As both boats started engaging closely both came off the foils in a lull.
White managed a self-take-off while red was towed up for the 10th start drill of the day with red on port entry. Both yachts sailed all the way to the right boundary and, approaching the line, red started windward of white. As racing was live, red fell off the foils after a tack and the day was called for red while white stayed out for a longer while flying its J1 OD.
Overall the boats seemed to have similar boat speeds in this light air. For this day an approx. foiling time of 115 minutes and approx. 50 tacks and 40 gybes [Michele Melis AC Recon].