Monday, April 22, 2024
HomeRegattaAmerica's CupNYYC American Magic: Dialing in Technique Training in Barcelona's Perfect Breeze

NYYC American Magic: Dialing in Technique Training in Barcelona’s Perfect Breeze

With just one boat in action, the NYYC American Magic sailors who are in Barcelona this week are taking simply every opportunity to dial in technique training ahead of the two-boat ‘racing phase’ that starts in earnest and moves the whole campaign to another exciting level. After several weeks of pure sail testing, the feeling around the MB92 base on the southern flank of the Port Vell is one of anticipation and today with a beautiful southerly breeze building and fading around 10 knots, it was perfect for ironing out crew configurations and roles.

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

Paul Goodison was joined by Lucas Calabrese on the wheels whilst Michael Menninger and Riley Gibbs, the winning Trim duo from the Vilanova i La Geltrú Preliminary Regatta back in September 2023, lent their experience to what was a productive two-and-a-half-hour afternoon session.

With eyes on the computer screen to define the virtual boundaries and racecourse, almost immediately the sailors were into an intense period of pre-starts and short-lap races with debriefs in-between from the on-water coaching team. In total some five starts were initiated and it’s easy to tell when teams are pushing as the falls off the foils in the circling perhaps indicates some pressure being applied from the onboard ‘ghost boat’ in the software. The recon team noted a new LiDAR camera mounted in the middle of the foredeck and for the first time we got confirmation that these systems are beaming sail shape data into the cockpit pods with Paul Goodison confirming: “It’s a jump on from some of the stuff we used last time and it’s just a data gathering exercise it helps us to look at a lot of the sail shapes live and also post-processing.”

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

One thing of note was the Flight Control that the sailors were operating today with a relentless drive to hunker down super-low upwind, only adjusting for the occasional swell wave that rolled in. Gibbs and Menninger, two of the greatest finds of this America’s Cup cycle, were on fire and staking a hefty claim for spots on the new AC75 when it comes in short order. Speaking about the Flight Control and asked whether it was a mix of manual and auto-pilot, Paul confirmed afterwards saying: “We’ve been 100% controlling the boat the last couple of days and really working on how we’re going to sail the AC75, so a little bit of who does what when, and how we configure the roles onboard and basically just trying to really understand at what point in the race, especially the pre-starts, do people become overloaded or underloaded, and how we can change the configs around a little bit to try and try and reduce those spots.”

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

The value of these training sessions is not to be underestimated with so many tricks and playbooks to learn as Paul attested: “We’ve got heaps on just trying to understand about how we go around a racecourse in different configurations. It’s really just prepping, ready for next week when we get two boats back on the water racing, so we’re doing a little bit of looking at some of our custom sails but mainly just trying to pace ourselves around the racecourse, trying to figure out who’s doing what at different points of the course and on the start’s it’s obviously very different with the four of us in the config we were doing today, and just playing around with who does what and when really.”

And talking about the onboard software that has been something of an open but highly guarded secret in this cycle, Paul broke cover saying: “We have a display with the racecourse onboard so we’re working on our comms, on how we manage the time to boundaries, the times to lay lines, using the software, deciding when the software is off, it just adds that extra level of communication between the four guys onboard and helps reduce prep time for the real thing.”

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

As for the merits of one boat training, Paul was unequivocal, saying with a smile: “For sure, you’re always winning when there’s only one of you out there so it’s really good to have a second boat not only to put yourself under pressure but as a good reference for how you’re performing.”

Great session from the American team, many people’s pick to go super-deep in the Louis Vuitton 37thAmerica’s Cup. Can they bring the Cup home this time? There’s 332 million people cheering them on and a club that’s missing an all too familiar trophy. The pressure is on and it’s real. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – NYYC American Magic: NYYC American Magic clocked up another single boat race training day aboard the AC40 America. The boat was rolled out of the shed at 1020 for the shore crew to step and set up its original mast (yesterday it was fitted with the mast from the team’s second AC40 Magic) before launching at 1058.

Once in the water we could confirm that an object we spotted yesterday mounted in the middle of the foredeck was a LiDar unit trained on the headsail. Dock-out was at 1227 with the team getting sails (MC 4 mainsail and J1 C1 headsail) hoisted by 1245. The boat left the harbour at 1250 and was quickly airborne in a solid southerly sea breeze at around 13-14 knots.

After a short, fast downwind run a stop was made to switch to the J3 C1 headsail. After a quick upwind sail to bed in the new headsail the crew went straight into the pre-start of the first of a series of practice starts / races. This first race saw the boat complete two windward / leeward laps before a stop at 1350.

After a 10 minute debrief with the chase boat and coaching team alongside the boat was off again for a second pre-start. The subsequent ‘race’ was terminated at the bottom of the first downwind run. After just a five minute stop the crew rolled into start number three, followed by a full two-lap race.

A 15-minute stop at 1445 saw the crew change back to the J2 C4. The breeze at this point was 10-11 knots from 180 degrees. The initial pre-start of the fourth race was aborted after the boat fell off the foil during a tack in the final minute. The rerun went better although in the subsequent race the boat fell off the foil on a tack on the approach to the windward gate. This race was terminated at the end of the first downwind. A fifth and final start saw the crew race upwind to the harbour entrance where they arrived at 1546.

Sails were dropped shortly afterwards, and the boat docked in at 1603.

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