Thursday, February 22, 2024
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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupINEOS Britannia Takes to the Waters: Intensive Two-Boat Testing and Race Practice...

INEOS Britannia Takes to the Waters: Intensive Two-Boat Testing and Race Practice in Building Breeze

 INEOS Britannia was back into action and enjoying a building breeze that started around 6 knots and then built quickly on the back of a big veer to a solid 17 knots by mid-afternoon for the team’s two boat testing and race practice. Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott were back on their familiar ‘Athena’ whilst Ben Cornish and Dylan Fletcher-Scott helmed the Athena Pathway boat ‘Sienna’ with one of the Youth Team members onboard getting valuable trim lessons from the hugely experienced Luke Parkinson.

©Paul Todd/AMERICA’S CUP

Some opening warm-up preceded two races that ultimately were abandoned with the Ainslie/Scott combination sailing extremely accurately and reading the conditions well. The first race saw ‘Sienna’ fall off the foils and agonisingly unable to get back up and flying, gifting a huge lead that was never going to be bridged. The second race saw the beginning of the day’s big windshift and on the final approaches to the line, left the pin end favoured and ‘Sienna’ stuffed out in ‘coffin corner’ unable to make the line. Ainslie tacked over onto port and crossed but the race was abandoned soon after.

©Paul Todd/AMERICA’S CUP

With the wind now really pulsing, Ainslie and Scott stopped for over thirty minutes with an issue whilst Fletcher-Scott and Cornish were having a high old time, ventilating and nosediving as they rocketed around the harbour entrance where a virtual course had been laid. Eventually the two lined-up for a final speed test on the J3 jib but a nosedive on ‘Sienna’ saw that come to a halt and both boats returned to base.

©Paul Todd/AMERICA’S CUP

Leigh McMillan who was onboard ‘Athena’ with Bleddyn Mon, Ainslie and Scott, spoke to the recon team after sailing and gave an honest appraisal of the sail testing and the differences between the J2-4 LEQ sail that was onboard Athena as opposed to the one-design J2 on ‘Sienna’ saying: “They are very subtle to be honest, they are both targeting the same wind ranges…but like not huge differences between the two…It was a day of a lot of trimming and a lot of mode changing and so it was really difficult to get a true picture of how it was performing.”

©Paul Todd/AMERICA’S CUP

Leigh also gave a very good walk through of a gybe from a trimmers perspective saying: “As a trimmer it depends whether you are trimming into the gybe, it’s just trying to keep the heel right so that you get the board nicely into the water and transitioning the load onto that board and then basically you hand the trim over to the opposite side and go straight into your jib trim so you getting a good landing position for the jib  on the exit for the other side of the gybe. And then in reverse when you’re landing , you’re just looking to pick up the traveller and seeing where it’s got to into the manoeuvre and transitioning it to a good landing position for the conditions and making sure that you get a good stable roll control on the exit of the gybe.”

Plenty more to come from INEOS Britannia and Alinghi Red Bull Racing this week. Orient Express Racing Team were back on the water today but in full one-design mode so no recon. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – INEOS Britannia: The British rolled out their two AC40s, Athena(a) and Sienna(b) in one-design foils configuration, at 08.30 and 09.19. They were craned to the water at 09.06 and 09.58, respectively, after stepping the mast and measuring the tension on the forestay on both boats. Two go-pro cameras were added under the spreaders of AC40(b).

The team docked out at 11:12, after a short ten-minute delay and got on the tow with no sails and headed towards the America´s Cup racing area.

Once there, at 11:40 one-design mainsails were hoisted, combined with the LEQ12 J2-4 on AC40(a) and a one-design J2 on AC40(b).

For the first half of the training, shifty, puffy and patchy west-southwest winds prevailed, oscillating from 250 to 225 in direction, and from 6 to 13 knots in intensity. At 12:45, the wind shifted left to 215 and increased in intensity, averaging 16 knots, gusting 17 and more at times, providing more stable wind conditions, but much more challenging when combined with the 0,90 m swell from 195.

From 11:55 till 12:20 both boats warmed up, sailing independently one from another, while the coaches set an upwind-downwind course with top and bottom gates.

At 12:20 the first race got underway. It was an even start with Boat A to leeward of B. Close to the left virtual boundary, both boats tacked almost at the same time, with a four boat-length lateral gap. Athena standing to the left, found more breeze and a better shift, coming out higher on port after the tack and built a lead from there on. On the last third of the upwind, the wind decreased dramatically in intensity, with B falling-off the foils and A extending. Boat A rounded the top left gate in the lead, far ahead of B which was left sailing on displacement mode for many minutes. Athena rounded the bottom right gate after three gybes on the lead, almost half-a-leg ahead of Sienna. Then the race was abandoned.

At 12:40 a second starting sequence got underway. Approximately thirty seconds before the start there was a considerable shift to the left, making the pin end extremely favoured, leaving both boats all of a sudden under the pin end lay-line. Boat A which was to windward in a controlling position saw the opportunity and pushed boat B to leeward of the pin end. At the starting time, A was tacking to cross the starting line on port a few seconds lake, while B was left to leeward of the pin on starboard tack. Immediately after, the race was abandoned.

At 12:45 the wind shifted left to 215 and built in intensity very quickly. At this time, both boats lowered their respective J2s, to be replaced by one-design J3s.

From 13:00 till 13:30 both boats sailed on their own, getting used to the new conditions and headed closer to the shore, next to the port entrance, probably looking for flatter water and more sheltered conditions. Two virtual upwind-downwind were executed by both boats while the coaches picked up the marks from the former race area and tried to re-set the course closer to the harbour.

At 13:30 ‘Boat A’ stopped and stayed heading into the wind for approximately thirty minutes, with no chase-boat on the side. Possibly dealing with some kind of unidentified problem. B continued to do some tacks and gybes, ventilating and nosediving on two occasions.

At 14:00 the two boats were back sailing and tried to speed test downwind. After sailing for not more than two minutes, boat B ventilated and nosedived, being forced to stop. Once sorted, one short upwind speed test was performed that ended up entering the port at 14:15

At 14:20 both boats lowered their sails inside the harbour. Athena and Sienna docked at 14:40, and the former was the first of the two to be craned out of the water at 15:10. Sebastian Peri Brusa – Recon on INEOS Britannia

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