Monday, April 22, 2024
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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupAlinghi Red Bull Racing Battles Challenging Seas in Barcelona Training Session

Alinghi Red Bull Racing Battles Challenging Seas in Barcelona Training Session

Fighting long swells and an at times vicious chop, it was a day of high accuracy and picking their manoeuvre moments for Alinghi Red Bull Racing who made the best of a steel-grey Barcelona afternoon that relented to sunshine only briefly. Winter is yet to release its grip to Spring with the Swiss picking their ride heights and desperately trying to avoid the cascading torrents of water that came down the decks on any bow stuff.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup
Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

With the wind not quite playing ball and for most of the day sitting restlessly at sub-10 knots, it was a tough day for the helms and Flight Controllers and one of those where communication and looking ahead, especially on the long-form swells was at a paramount.

Docking out at midday to the sound of the Alinghi Red Bull Racing bronze bell that they ring every time they leave the pen, with Arnaud Psarofaghis not on the boat today, the Swiss very much saw this as a shake-down sail after their magnificent session two-boating in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Nicolas Charbonnier and Maxime Bachelin were partnered on the helms with Bryan Mettraux and Yves Detrey on Flight Control. Playing it safe, it was a trade-off between ride height and keeping the foils immersed in the troughs and with an offset wave pattern that at times exceeded 2 metres, real safety could only be found downwind reaching across the waves and the manoeuvre foil-to-foil ratio wasthus  hit into the low 40% region as a result.

Gybes were high co-ordination affairs, picking the wave and taking the moment – not easy in the swell and a sub 50% return foil-to-foil summed up the day. Yves Courvoisier, the highly experienced Research & Development Engineer for Alinghi Red Bull Racing who has a very specific role in the development of the Simulator programme for the team spoke afterwards saying: “I think it was a very good day because the goal was to go there and test the boat in those conditions and it was a learning curve because like always you have to get back into it, warm up, and then go and face those waves but the guys did very well.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Asked specifically about how a tough day like today can be relayed back to simulation, Yves added: “I think it’s every condition we want to have a grasp of them so those were quite extreme you know not much wind, big swell that was not aligned with the wind, so it was a good opportunity to have a look at that.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Speaking about whether the team are set modes that correlate to the simulation before sailing, Yves gave a more nuanced answer saying: “That’s a continuous conversation we try to have, the sailing team is not isolated by themselves trying to sail the boat so the entire team is surrounding them and giving tips but at the moment it’s not the one-day-tip it’s really general building of a conversation of knowledge and all this, so it’s doing ping pong on both sides and that’s how we do it.”

And with regards the sea-state and whether there will ever be the ‘perfect correlation’ between actual sailing and simulated sailing, Yves commented: “No there will always be a difference. Yeah, for sure I mean it’s the metaverse where we are, it’s always idealised in some way and here it’s a big mess. If it were like 12 knots flat water maybe we could say okay we’re getting into something very, very, close but here’s not easy but we’re getting there.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Plenty more to come from Alinghi Red Bull Racing this week. Good session in difficult conditions and with a highly modified AC75 that was originally optimised for Auckland conditions – for sure, they’re counting the days down now to the launch of the new AC75. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – Alinghi Red Bull Racing: Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s ‘BoatZero’ was rolled out at 09:30 h for its first day of sailing in Barcelona after the team was back from the block training with the two AC40s in Jeddah. The boat was prepared and craned into the water by 10:15 h. When alongside, sailors and engineers checked all the boat’s systems including foil arms, mainsheet systems, mast rotation and jib sheet systems, ensuring everything was in top condition before the sailing session.

The boat docked out at 12pm for a sailing session of a bit more than 2.5 hours that performed like the following:

Stint 1 (12:25 h to 13:15 h): In the very beginning of the sailing session the boat had to be towed out from the harbour as there was a very light wind of 2-4 kn from the NW 340º accompanied by a significant swell from the SSW with heights between 1.3 to 2 meters. Luckily at 12:45 h the wind shifted to 160º TWD, with its intensity picking up to about 5 to 11 knots.

This initial phase focused on warming up and boat trimming, performing lines up and down wind with some manoeuvres to get the team and the boat synchronized.

By the end of this stint three technicians had to attend the boat for some relatively quick maintenance.

Stint 2 (13:15 h to 14:00 h): A brief pause in the rigorous training allowed for a photo session for the media, capturing the team and boat in action with some take off, tacks, gybes and lines up and down the wind.

At 13:40 the jib was changed from J3-1R to J2-2L, and we also think that some batteries were replaced.

Stint 3 (14:00 h to 14:45 h): The final phase resumed with lines up and down the wind combined with a row tacks and gybes, incorporating bear-away and luffing manoeuvres.

The wind shifted to 190º by the end of this stint and increased to 12-13 kn.

It was a day with very particular sailing conditions with waves from the SSW up to 2m in height and the wind shifting from SSE to SSW, which we think it was pretty interesting not only for the sailors to prove their skills in wavy conditions with the AC75 but also for the engineering team collecting data for the simulation software.

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