Saturday, July 13, 2024
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InicioRegattaAmerica's CupNYYC American Magic team actively engaged in testing bespoke sails

NYYC American Magic team actively engaged in testing bespoke sails

NYYC American Magic was pushing its own limits on a split-day that saw more LEQ12 bespoke sail testing in the first stint but then went quickly into an entertaining two-race series with the wind gauge clocking up all the time. Make no mistake this was top-flight racing between the sailors with helming pairings today of Tom Slingsby and Harry Melges on ‘America’ and Paul Goodison and Lucas Calabrese on ‘Magic’ reminding the Cup world just how hard the AC40 is to race at this intensity. Any kind of mis-judgement or poor steering is punished by a broach – or worse – but when it’s done right, it’s a thing of extraordinary beauty.

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

As the racing began, the atmosphere changed. Gloves came off. Positions on the imminent AC75 raceboat were up for grabs. They might not admit it, but this mattered. Off the start lines it was all go and over a relatively decent sized course, the coaches let the sailors off the tactical playbook leash and go boat-on-boat. Fascinating to watch, in the building conditions no-one opted for a one-board leeward mark rounding, it was all double-boards and safety-first. Upwind it was a case of dialling low to the water and the trimmers were on steroids with fantastic concentration to keep flying fast. Yes, there were some incidents – nosedives, broaches, poor gybe exits, as to be expected in 20 knots gusting higher – but this was an impressive step-on in the training curtailed by a bad nosedive on ‘America’ that saw the end of their day, after some five hours of sailing, at 4pm whilst the ‘Magic’ team stayed out for another hour.

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

Speaking afterwards, Michael Menninger, one of the real finds of this America’s Cup cycle, gave a good account of the day and talking about the sail development, his area of deep expertise, he commented: “Different wind conditions give each sail it’s different challenges and some of the sails are designed for breeze and some are designed for the lower wind ranges, so you’re sometimes reaching the limits of the sails like certainly today, I mean these sails are kind of on the larger size so reaching the limits in terms of what we can do to depower them but yeah I mean it was another really good day and it was just good to have the winter conditions for these sails.”

And talking about the racing intensity and how it changes from the testing regime, he added: “I guess it changes quite a lot. Ideally it doesn’t change a lot, but definitely the intensity increases a little bit, but it was really good to do a couple of races, we haven’t raced in a little bit, but I think part of evaluating the sails is putting them into racing situations and really pushing the boats into harder spots at times and understanding how the sails deal with those situations is good to know.”

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

Looking forward, Michael is eyeing the new AC75 launch but updated on where the team are at saying: “Yeah, we’re in a period of sail testing right now then that’s going to transition to more of a racing period between the two boats which we’re all really looking forward to. And then you know patiently awaiting the launch of our new boat and in the summer getting used to the new boat so yeah things are definitely ‘amping up’ and we’re really excited for the next few months.”

On-Water Recon Report – NYYC American Magic: NYYC American Magic’s final day of sailing this week featured more two-boat testing combined with a short session of course practice racing. The day started in an 8-10 knot southerly breeze and flat water which built to 16-20 during the afternoon when the sea state kicked up into a 0.5-metre steep chop.

The American team had both their AC40s – America and Magic rigged and launched by 0945 with the boats docking out just before 1100. Sails were hoisted by 1100 – America: MN C2 mainsail and J2-4; Magic: M C5 mainsail and J2 – with both boats out of the harbour and airborne by 1125 for a 30-minute light airs flight which saw the pair pull off five foiling gybes, one touch and go gybes, and two touchdown gybes.

After a second flight lasting 20 minutes the breeze began to build promoting a change to one-design J3 headsails. An hour-long windward / leeward flight followed during which the breeze built to 16-20 knots.

A 20-minute stop at 1350 was followed by a pair of practice races around a windward / leeward course. Racing was mostly super-close, but the second race ended on the downwind leg when America nosedived badly after a gybe and came close to capsizing.

That meant the end of the day for America but the crew on Magic changed to a custom J3 headsail for a final hour of windward leeward sailing. Time was called at 1600 with America back on the dock by 1610. No sailing is scheduled for the next three days.

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