Wednesday, April 24, 2024
HomeRegattaAmerica's CupNYYC American Magic Defies Odds, Caps off Training Week Amidst Stormy Conditions

NYYC American Magic Defies Odds, Caps off Training Week Amidst Stormy Conditions

It was touch and go as to whether they would sail on Friday with thunderstorms all around overnight and a fresh, building swell crashing into the Barcelona beachfront and harbour, but NYYC American Magic put on a heck of a display to round off another great week for the team who are riding high in training for the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup.

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

With the forecasted strong winds eventually filtering in at 15-18 knots from the west-south-west bringing in higher gusts, sensibly the American team opted to just sail one boat today with Paul Goodison and Tom Slingsby taking charge of the patched-up ‘America’ and really putting her through the paces in wave heights that at times topped two metres. This was pure sailing talent on display, arguably the two finest foiling helmsmen of their generation, supported by the genius of Michael Menninger and Andrew Campbell on trim. This wasn’t a day for show-boating and the team just kept it consistent over three hours on the water, picking their moments to tack and gybe and always seeking smoother water where they could.

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

Noticeable was the trim with slight leeward heel to almost ‘stand’ on the immersed foil and there were some very neat changes in ride height when sailing into the waves upwind with Menninger and Campbell absolutely focussed on keeping the bow out and the power on through the waveforms. Any kind of manoeuvre saw a slight rise in the height prior to the turn and then the AC40 was hunkered back down on course. Downwind they really looked to be enjoying themselves on the waves, picking the path through on quite high ride heights and again the sail trim was pretty much perfect.

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

As demonstration sailing goes, this one will have piqued interest around the Port Vell with the other teams deciding to stay at their bases. Paul Goodison, always superb in interview, summed it up afterwards saying:  “It was a really difficult forecast last night there were questions whether we would be able to sail it or not, some of the chase boats got pulled last night with the thunderstorms and the expected weather so we thought it was prudent to just send one boat out there. We had quite a list of things to try in in this sort of sea state because I think today was probably the biggest sea we’ve sailed these AC40s in and it was quite challenging, but I think I think we learned a lot today.”

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

Asked if they were on the limit today, it was clearly close as Paul said: “I think for the wind obviously we could sail in a little bit more breeze but when you add the swell on as well it’s going to be tricky to sail in any bigger waves than that. I think it times we were seeing up to two metre waves and not very easy…The boat was pretty quiet at times today which just shows how much everybody was focusing on doing their job and doing it the best they can.”

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

One boat testing gives the team the chance to dial in settings and really understand the sail controls and as Paul said: “The conditions obviously really, really, difficult and to get two boats lined up and to get anything productive out of it is very difficult that you’ve seen this sort of wave state you can have one more drop off the foils and their boats get separated and you kind of spend a lot of time trying to realign to get anything out of it so we decided with these conditions with how tricky it was going to be we’re just going to go with the one boat and focus on the list that we had to test.”

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

NYYC American Magic have concluded their custom foil programme so have reverted both ‘America’ and ‘Magic’ back to one design foil set-ups with Paul explaining the rationale saying: “So, we had a couple of questions to answer on the on the foils which is why we went back to our custom foils and had a little look at those again last week but now the aim is we’re into race training so any sort of aero tests, any sort of racing, if we’ve got equal foils underneath the boats then then both boats are in a very similar situation so we just got the better results from them.”

Brilliant way to conclude the week for the hard-driving American team who set a marker of intent today to conclude their week of training but the grind goes on next week. First class sailing from a first class team…again. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – NYYC American Magic:  The American Magic Team was sailing with just one boat today: America. They rolled the AC40 quite early in the morning at 7:20. Afterwards, Magic was craned in and moored at the dock at 7:45.

America had both foils starboard and port in one design configuration, one LiDAR camera on the port side was installed and she still had the cameras that we saw yesterday on the side of the hull, a couple of meters forward from the foil arms.

At 9:30 America docked out, towed by the chase boat. Tom Slingsby (helm) and Michael Menninger (trimmer) were on the starboard side and Paul Goodison (helm) and Andrew Campbell were on port. Sails were hoisted at the port entrance at 10 am with the following configuration: MC-4 for the mainsail and a custom J1 for the jib. Very light offshore winds with quite big waves (1.3-2.4 m) were found at that time at the entrance of Barcelona port. For that reason, the chase boat decided to tow the boat a bit offshore and checked if it was possible to sail, but no wind was found and as the forecast was predicting 15-20 knots from the SW, the team decided to wait.

At 11:00 h the first gust from the SW arrived and stayed stable with 6-8 knots TWD 200º. With such big waves, it was not easy for America to get on to the foils, but she managed to do it when sailing port tack down the waves. They went for long legs on port and later on starboard side. Around 11:20 a big strong gust came in with 15-18 knots TWD 210º and America stopped immediately to replace the jib for a custom J3.

When they started sailing again, they went straight downwind and did long legs and performed 5 gybes in between. Impressive boat handling from the America crew despite the rough sea. Waves were high and steep, and it was pretty easy to take the foils out of the water when overlapping the waves. After the 5th gybe, they luffed up into an upwind and performed a long port tack. At some point, before getting too close to the shore they bore-away and went for a short downwind, performing 3 gybes. After the 3rd gybe they luffed again upwind and got back to port with the homework done for the day.

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